Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parents Still Fear Autism Could Be Linked To Vaccines, Poll Shows

Date:
October 4, 2008
Source:
Florida Institute of Technology
Summary:
Scientists say there is no evidence linking vaccines and autism, but the lingering fear is leading to fewer parents having their children vaccinated and a growing number of measles infections. The first national survey of attitudes toward autism reveals that a small but significant percentage of people still believe the disease is caused by childhood vaccines. The poll results help explain growing number of measles infections.

The first national survey of attitudes toward autism reveals that a small but significant percentage of people still believe the disease is caused by childhood vaccines. The survey of 1000 randomly selected adults was conducted for the Florida Institute of Technology.

Related Articles


Nearly one in four (24 percent) said that because vaccines may cause autism it was safer not to have children vaccinated at all. Another 19 percent were not sure. This at a time when the Centers for Disease Control reports that autism affects one in 150 children born in the United States.

Scientists say there is no evidence linking vaccines and autism, but the lingering fear is leading to fewer parents having their children vaccinated and a growing number of measles infections. The New York Times reported in August that measles cases in the first seven months of 2008 grew at the fastest rate in more than a decade and cases in Britain, Switzerland, Israel and Italy are said to be soaring.

The public's concern over vaccines stems from a controversial 1998 British study linking autism and the MMR vaccine, which at the time contained the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. The study was later retracted by most of its authors and thimerosal was removed from all childhood vaccines in 2001, but responses to the just-completed survey show the public is still confused.

Florida Institute of Technology commissioned the survey, which asked specifically about the link between the preservative and autism. Nineteen percent of the respondents agreed with the statement "Autism is caused by a preservative once found in childhood vaccines." An additional 43 percent were not sure, meaning fewer than half (38 percent) of the respondents believe no link exists between the vaccine and autism.

Part of the confusion may stem from the fact that the cause of autism is unknown, according to Florida Tech Assistant Professor of Psychology Celeste Harvey. More than three in four respondents (76 percent) to the national survey agree with the statement: "At this time, scientists don't know exactly what causes autism."

"Fear of the unknown, coupled with anxiety over the growing incidence of the disease, may be leading people to draw their own conclusions," said Harvey.

The first national survey of the public's knowledge and understanding of Autism was conducted for the School of Psychology at Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Fla. The survey includes responses from 1000 men and women, 21 years old or older, randomly selected from throughout the nation. The poll has a plus or minus 3.1 percent confidence interval at a 95 percent level of confidence. The telephone interviews were conducted between August 1 and August 29 by GDA Education Research, Mount Pleasant, S.C.

In addition to asking whether a link exists between autism and childhood vaccines, the survey explored people's knowledge of the disease, their exposure to people with autism and their support for early intervention programs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Florida Institute of Technology. "Parents Still Fear Autism Could Be Linked To Vaccines, Poll Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081003122536.htm>.
Florida Institute of Technology. (2008, October 4). Parents Still Fear Autism Could Be Linked To Vaccines, Poll Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081003122536.htm
Florida Institute of Technology. "Parents Still Fear Autism Could Be Linked To Vaccines, Poll Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081003122536.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins