In this section, we explored the four psychological constructs that lead to a person’s behavioral intention, which is a vital predictor of the behavior of getting vaccinated.
To sum up, as a health professional, you will:
- Identify what specific action you’d want a patient to take by setting your target action (e.g. getting the flu vaccine in the clinic annually).
- Explore the patient’s salient beliefs about getting vaccinated. You can use open-ended questions to do that. For details, see Section 2. You can also consider using a questionnaire to do so.
- Identify what beliefs negatively impact vaccination intention - it’s one thing if the patient has negative beliefs about getting vaccinated, but it’s a different thing if the patient has positive beliefs but is surrounded by people who are telling them that they shouldn't get vaccinated.
Lastly, to influence a patient’s intention, you will apply the "Big-4" Framework to focus on four possible psychological constructs and, from a patient's perspective, they are:
1. My Thoughts
2. Others’ Thoughts
3. Others’ Behavior
4. My Ability
A gentle reminder: there’s one unique thing about how "My Ability" works. As a patient, if I perceive "My Ability" for vaccination as low, then even if I am "persuaded," I’ll still not follow through in getting vaccinated. On the other hand, even if I perceive "My Ability" to be high, I’ll still need positive beliefs in other constructs to get vaccinated.
The key persuasion strategy will vary depending on the situations. Sometimes it’ll be about influencing the "My Thoughts" construct of the patient, but sometimes it’ll be about influencing the "Others’ Thoughts, the"Others’ Behavior," or the "My Ability" constructs. Establishing this "Big-4" Framework of understanding helps you engage a patient more thoughtfully and methodically.