Mind the Gap: Trends and Patterns in the Reporting of MMR Evidence in Key U.K. Clinical and Professional Journals and Magazines between 1988 and 2007

Hilton, S. , Hunt, K. and Petticrew, M. (2009) Mind the Gap: Trends and Patterns in the Reporting of MMR Evidence in Key U.K. Clinical and Professional Journals and Magazines between 1988 and 2007. QHR 2008 Qualitative Health Research

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Abstract

In the United Kingdom the publication of a paper by Andrew Wakefield in The Lancet in 1998 prompted a public debate about the safety of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. In the ensuing years, MMR remained a focus of controversy, and MMR uptake declined despite extensive epidemiological evidence about the safety of the vaccine. On the ground, primary health practitioners found themselves in the front line when it came to advising parents on the safety of MMR but described a crisis in confidence as they tried to keep up-to-date with the research evidence on the vaccine. Scientific and clinical journals are an important vehicle in the dissemination of research findings to health practitioners, and their role in translating evidence and offering evaluative comment and guidance on controversial evidence may be heightened during a public health scare. The debate surrounding MMR safety provides a recent case study in which to examine how key journals and magazines translated evidence to health professionals. This paper examines the trends and patterns in the reporting of MMR evidence in key practitioner journals and magazines between 1988 and 2007. We used content analysis on all editorials, commentaries, and news articles (n = 860) published in the six journals and magazines that had been identified by health practitioners as the ones they most commonly consulted. We will present an analysis of the trends and recommendations in articles over the period of the MMR controversy to highlight how guidance for practice was aligned with the scientific evidence on MMR safety.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Additional Information:Abstract published in International Journal of Qualitative Methods 8(3):18-19
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hunt, Professor Kate and Petticrew, Dr Mark and Hilton, Professor Shona
Authors: Hilton, S., Hunt, K., and Petticrew, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
ISSN:1609-4069
Published Online:01 September 2009

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