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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Committee Chair

Jennifer R. Antick, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Shawn E. Davis, Ph.D.


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends yearly influenza vaccinations for health care professionals including physicians, nurses, and other workers in inpatient and outpatient settings, including students in these professions who will have contact with patients. Reported rates of health care providers' vaccination range from 15% to 50%. This study applies the Health Belief Model and the concept of unrealistic optimism to better understand this gap between recommendations and health behavior. Students in the health professions (Occupational therapy, Physical therapy, Physicians Assistants, Professional Psychology, Pharmacy, Dentistry Health Science and Optometry) were surveyed to investigate whether students who chose to receive the vaccine differed from those who did not on items measuring the Health Belief Model and Unrealistic Optimism. Independent samples T -test revealed significant differences on several aspects of the Health Belief model (Benefits, Severity, and Barriers), whereas susceptibility and unrealistic optimism did not reveal significant differences between groups. In view of these findings, decreasing barriers and increasing perceived benefits to vaccination among student health care providers is recommended.


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