To assess the beliefs of parents and the visit patterns of their children to determine whether immunizations act as an incentive to use well-child care.
Design and Methods:
Medical record audits provided data on immunizations and well-child visits. Two questions from a parent interview were used to identify 4 groups of parents: (1) motivated and (2) unmotivated to keep a well-child care appointment regardless of whether immunizations are scheduled, (3) vaccine-motivated and (4) checkup-motivated (parents who were influenced negatively by the prospect of receiving vaccinations). The percentage of children with a visit at each age window for well-child visits and the percentage up-to-date for their immunizations at given ages were compared across the 4 groups. The 4 groups were also compared for other parental attitudes about immunizations and well-child visits, and on sociodemographic and access characteristics.
Most (73.3%) of the 502 parents surveyed were classified as motivated and 5% as unmotivated to keep a well-child care appointment regardless of whether an immunization was scheduled. Only 18.3% were categorized as vaccine-motivated and 3.4% as checkup-motivated. For all 4 groups, there was no discernible difference in attendance between immunization and non-immunization visits. Attendance in the windows for well-child visits and percentage of children up-to-date on immunizations declined with increasing age.
In this inner-city population, attendance patterns at visits did not support the incentive hypothesis. This finding should reassure clinicians that providing immunizations outside of regular well-child care visits will not necessarily decrease attendance at visits for well-child care.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:690-695