Date of Conferral
Grant J. Rich
Research on health prevention behaviors of Mexican immigrant mothers regarding immunizations has been limited. As of 2014, Hispanics or Latinos comprised 9.6% of the population of the state of Oklahoma and were the largest minority group within Oklahoma. This minority population has continued to grow at a rapid rate in Oklahoma. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of immunizations held by Mexican immigrants who are mothers residing in Oklahoma. The aim of this study was to identify their perceived risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease if not immunized and knowledge of immunizations as a health prevention behavior. The health belief model and the sociocultural theory provided the theoretical underpinnings for this qualitative study. Semistructured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 12 immigrants living in a rural area of Oklahoma. Data were triangulated and analyzed to identify themes and patterns. Findings indicated participants perceived susceptibility of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease if not immunized, with the severity of the disease having the potential to cause death. Identified barriers in immunization uptake were language barrier, lack of immunization information in Spanish, and fear of deportation. Recommendations include public health outreach providing culturally, linguistic appropriate immunization information to immigrants within communities. Findings provide health psychologists and other health care professionals the ability to formulate interventions targeting immunizations in female Mexican immigrants. These interventions could promote positive social change by decreasing immigrants' and their children's risk of morbidity and mortality related to lack of immunization uptake.