Vaccine Refusal and Pharmaceutical Acquiescence: Parental Control and Ambivalence in Managing Children's Health. By: Reich, Jennifer A. American Sociological Review. Feb2020, Vol. 85 Issue 1, p106-127. 22p. 1 Chart.

Parents who confidently reject vaccines and other forms of medical intervention often seek out pediatric care, medical treatments, and prescription medications for their children in ways that seem to contradict these views. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 34 parents who rejected some or all vaccines for their children, this article examines the strategies they use to pharmaceutically manage their children’s health, even when espousing a larger rejection of pharmaceutical interventions like childhood vaccines. Rather than treating decision-making as solely an internal process, this article shows how medication use results from individual, interactional, and institutional contexts, with different mechanisms of encouragement and enforcement. Using three illustrative cases, I show how parents manage ambivalence, which allows them to accept medication for their children as a tool to be deployed as deemed necessary in particular contexts while at the same time communicating their rejection of it. I conclude with suggestions for how to engage parents around healthcare decision-making.