Cognitive and emotional determinants of influenza vaccination: testing the effects of an anticipated regret manipulation

Lynn Williams, Abbie Irving

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

24 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Vaccine hesitancy refers to the reluctance or refusal to be vaccinated, despite the availability of vaccines. It is recognised by the WHO as one of the top ten threats to global health. Cognitive factors (e.g., confidence and complacency) can help us to understand the psychological antecedents of vaccine hesitancy. In addition, anticipatory emotions may also be important determinants of vaccination behaviour. In this study, we (i) examined the association between vaccination beliefs, anticipated regret, and intention to receive the seasonal-influenza vaccination, and (ii) tested the effect of a simple anticipated regret manipulation on seasonal-influenza vaccination intention. Methods: 300 members of the U.K. general public (mean age = 38.6 years) were allocated to a simple anticipated regret condition versus a questionnaire only condition. All participants completed self-report measures of vaccination beliefs using the 5C scale, which measures confidence, complacency, collective responsibility, calculation, and constraints (Betsch et al., 2018). Participants also provided a measure of their intention to receive the seasonal-influenza vaccination. The anticipated regret condition also provided measures of anticipatory emotions (i.e. anticipated regret if one were unvaccinated and later developed influenza). Results: Correlation analysis showed that confidence (r= .36, p<.001), complacency (r=-.32, p<.001), constraints (r=-.24, p<.001), collective responsibility (r=.39, p<.001), and anticipated regret (r=.76, p<.001) were all significantly associated with intention to receive the annual influenza vaccination. Two-way ANOVA showed that there was no difference in vaccination intention scores between the anticipated regret and questionnaire only conditions, F(1, 296) = .028, p =.867), but that those who were members of an at-risk group had higher intention scores, F(1, 296) = 98.03, p < .001). Conclusions and implications: Our findings show that both vaccination beliefs and anticipatory emotions are associated with seasonal-influenza vaccination intention, but that a simple anticipated regret manipulation was not effective in increasing intention to receive the seasonal-influenza vaccination.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2020
EventUK Society for Behavioural Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting - Bath, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Jan 202017 Jan 2020


ConferenceUK Society for Behavioural Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • vaccine hesitancy
  • anticipated regret
  • vaccination
  • seasonal-influenza
  • anticipatory emotions

Cite this