Research for the Public Sector
Providing basic research studies to the Public Health Sector/Ethnic Research
In the course of a research project funded by the Department of Health investigating attitudes and behavior of young people in regard to vaccination, it was determined that there was a distinct deficit in vaccination rates in teenagers coming from an ethnic minority background as well as those from German homes. Using an explorative GIM-basic study on behalf of a public institution for application and policy orientated biomedical research and disease prevention, we delivered a deeper understanding of the attitudes and behavior of young people and mothers from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds in regard to vaccination and preventative measures, as well as determining specific measures for intervention.
GIM was commissioned to investigate both general and specific barriers regarding young peoples’ attitudes and behavior towards vaccination and preventative measures as well as attitudes and behavior towards vaccination and preventative measures in the context of the family’s decision-making process and the characteristics of various groups (e.g. differences in immigration history as well as any linguistic, cultural and religious factors). Statistics in this area offer only a very limited analytical perspective which necessitated a separate exploration and analysis of the individual ethnic target groups.
In order to better understand the basic take-up and possible decision-making processes within these groups, GIM carried out qualitative focus groups with teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16 (divided both by sex and ethnic background). To supplement the study, doctors from vaccination practices in districts of the city with a high population of people with ethnic minority backgrounds were interviewed, as were mothers with an ethnic minority or immigrant background, in order that their expert opinion could be integrated into the study.
Due to the large variety of ethnic target groups living in Germany, GIM, together with the client, decided to focus on three of the groups which were numerically most strongly represented; people with Turkish, Arabic or Russian roots, who were either not born in Germany or had grown up with at least one parent who had not been born in Germany.
The content of the studies was based on the decision-making process in regard to vaccination – as it exists in the familial as well as socio-cultural context. In addition to the views, driving forces and barriers of the subject groups, as well as how informed they were about vaccination in general and specifically the most important vaccinations, GIM’s investigations were able to shed light on attitudes to the related themes of “Health and Welfare”, “Visiting the Doctor” and “Adolescent and Teen Examinations/Check-ups”. Furthermore, the GIM researchers discussed in all group interviews (teenagers, mothers and doctors) the possibility and, where appropriate, the necessity of having a culturally sensitive approach especially for young people and parents from different ethnic backgrounds.
The study provided the client with a deep insight into the characteristics of the various target groups and their respective approaches and behaviors in regard to vaccination and prevention measures. In particular, information on culturally specific role models, attitudes to health, sickness and visiting doctors as well as attitudes towards taking or delegating responsibility for the above mentioned themes generated action points for potential intervention techniques as well as valuable learning about the target groups. Factors relating to ethnic background and accessibility as well the relevant perspectives of teenagers, mothers and inoculating doctors were developed and translated into definite recommendations for action.