The flu shot study: Using multiattribute utility theory to design a vaccination intervention

William B. Carter, Lee Roy Beach, Thomas S. Inui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Differences between the multiattribute utility (MAU) profiles of participants who had previously gotten flu shots and those who had not done so were used to design an informational brochure urging influenza vaccination. The effectiveness of the MAU brochure was evaluated in a VA ambulatory care clinic with a long-standing influenza vaccination program. The target population for the intervention was high-risk clinic patients who had not gotten a shot the previous year. Participants received either a letter urging them to get a flu shot, or a letter plus the informational brochure. A significantly larger proportion of the patients who received the brochure got shots; 36% versus 23% for the letter only. While a 13 percentage point increase is modest, influenza and related complications (preventable through vaccination) are the fourth-leading killers of older persons. Adding a MAU-based brochure to an ongoing vaccination program is inexpensive and may save additional lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-391
Number of pages14
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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