Predictors of childhood immunization completion in a rural population

Prasanna Gore, Suresh Madhavan, David Curry, Gordon McClung, Mary Castiglia, Sidney A. Rosenbluth, Raymond A. Smego

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Despite the availability of effective vaccines, immunization rates among two-year old children continue to be low in many areas of the United States including rural West Virginia. The goal of this study was to identify barriers to childhood immunization in rural West Virginia and determine factors that were important in the completion of the childhood immunization schedule. A telephone survey was used to collect data from a randomly selected sample of 316 mothers, of two-year olds, from 18 rural counties of West Virginia. Results indicated that two-thirds or 65% of the children in the study sample had completed their recommended immunizations by two years of age. Immunization barriers identified in this study include: living in health professional shortage areas, lack of health insurance, negative beliefs and attitudes regarding childhood immunizations, problems accessing the immunization clinic, and a perception of inadequate support from the immunization clinic. Results of the structural equation modeling, using LISREL-8, indicated that 20% of the variation in immunization completion (R2 = 0.197) was explained by attitude towards immunization and perceived support received from the immunization clinic. Furthermore, 42% of the variation in attitude towards immunization (R2 = 0.419) was explained by immunization- related beliefs, and 28% of the variation in immunization-related beliefs (the R2 = 0.277) was explained by general problems faced during immunization and perceived clinic support. The study concluded that positive immunization- related beliefs and attitudes, support from the immunization clinic, and ease of the immunization seeking process are important factors in the timely completion of the childhood immunization schedule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1027
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • Barriers to immunization
  • Childhood immunization
  • Disease prevention
  • Health behavior
  • Rural health
  • Structural equation modeling


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