Social and behavioural research

Social behaviral

Program lead: Dr Holly Seale    
Dr Anita Heywood, Prof Raina MacIntyre, Dr Abrar Chughtai, Ms Telphia Joseph, Prof Mary-Louise McLaws

Religion, culture, gender and/or socio‐economic status are all known to influence a person’s decision on whether or not they will act a vaccine or immunise their child.  Whether people accept a vaccine or are hesitant can also be affected by whether the individual or group have accurate knowledge and/or awareness about the need for vaccination. Have they received any information or do they have misperceptions because they have received inappropriate or inaccurate information.  Understanding decision making theory in vaccination behaviour, the expectations and experiences of adults, and reasons why people fail to have vaccinations are crucial to bridging the gap in adult immunisation. This information allows us to build evidence based interventions such as education or communication programs that are aimed at improving uptake.  

Our social and behavioural research team have led studies focused on exploring the individual, societal and organisational factors that influence compliance with immunisation and with formulating and developing approaches and interventions to improve uptake. Our research has included a range of stakeholders including migrants and refugees, travellers, adults with immunosuppressant or underlying health conditions, and hospital/community based healthcare workers. We have collaborated with researchers from Indonesia, China, Vietnam and other countries to undertake social research studies.


Recent examples of our work include:

  • Seale, H., Kaur, R., Mahimbo, A., MacIntyre, C. R., Zwar, N., Smith, M., Worth H, Heywood, A. E. (2016). Improving the uptake of pre-travel health advice amongst migrant Australians: Exploring the attitudes of primary care providers and migrant community groups. BMC Infectious Diseases, 16(1) https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-016-1479-1
  • Heywood A.E., Nothdurft H, Tessier D, Moodley M, Rombo L, Marano C, De Moerlooze L. Pre-travel advice, attitudes and hepatitis A and B vaccination rates among travelers from seven countries. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2016:24(1) http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jtm/taw069
  • Seale, H., Sitaresmi, M. N., Atthobari, J., Heywood, A., Kaur, R., MacIntyre, R., . . . Padmawati, S. (2015). Knowledge and attitudes towards rotavirus diarrhea and the vaccine amongst healthcare providers in Yogyakarta Indonesia. BMC Health Services Research, 15(1). http://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-015-1187-3

Mission statement

To reduce the immunisation gap between adults and children through research, teaching and advocacy, with a special focus on the elderly, high risk and vulnerable populations.

Contact Us

Dr Rob Menzies

Dr Rob Menzies

Senior Lecturer

02 93853480

r.menzies@unsw.edu.au

Dr Elizabeth Kpozehouen

Dr Elizabeth Kpozehouen

Research Associate

02 9385 1192

e.kpozehouen@unsw.edu.au