Children of women with less than a high school
education are more likely to have received timely childhood
than the children of college graduates, according to a new
The paper, published online Dec. 28,
will appear in the February issue of The American Journal
of Public Health. Scientists studied data on 11,860 families
from the National Immunization Survey, a nationwide survey
of vaccination among children 19 to 35 months old that includes
information on race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
Children of mothers who had not completed high school were
16 percent more likely to have up-to-date vaccinations than
children of college graduates. While black children were 11
percent less likely to be up to date than white children,
Hispanic children were 11 percent more likely. The poorest
children, without considering race or ethnicity, were just
as likely as the richest to have completed their vaccination
"The way the health care system is organized for immunization
services may account for the variations," said Jennie J. Kronenfeld,
the senior author of the study. "Or cultural differences may
overcome the barriers to immunization that they don't in other
kinds of health care."
Dr. Kronenfeld, a professor of sociology in the School of
Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, offered
a possible explanation for the difference between the children
of college graduates and those of mothers who had not graduated
from high school. "There is a controversy among more educated
mothers about the safety of certain kinds of immunization,"
she said. "That may be part of what is going on here, but
we don't know for sure."