WebMD and Medscape Surveys Explore Health Issues Facing Children, Parents and Physicians in Upcoming School Year

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NEW YORK, Aug. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- WebMD Health Corp. (NASDAQ: WBMD), the leading source of health information, released the results of two surveys that shed fresh light on pressing health topics affecting parents, children and physicians during the critical back-to school season. The WebMD Stress in Children Survey and the Medscape Vaccine Acceptance Report address important health issues: parental attitudes toward vaccines as children reassemble in close quarters, and the potentially overlooked stress that kids may experience both at school and home as parents cope with their own demands.

To view the full Medscape Vaccine Acceptance Report results, which also address parental fears and main drivers of increased vaccine acceptance, visit

To view the full WebMD Stress in Children Consumer Survey results, which also address methods for managing stress and the impact of bullying, visit

To view the full interview with Sandra Hassink, MD, President, American Academy of Pediatrics, visit:

Medscape Vaccine Acceptance Report Key Findings:

More Vaccine Acceptance
The Medscape Vaccine Acceptance Report showed that 42% of clinicians surveyed find moms and dads more accepting of childhood immunizations since the recent measles outbreak. Nearly half (49%) of healthcare providers (HCPs) believe the shift resulted from fears about contracting vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. But healthcare professionals say parents have other concerns in mind as they consider vaccinating their children, according to the survey. Nearly a quarter (23%) of the 1,577 respondents reported that concern about being refused admission into some schools, camps and day care centers also played a significant role in parents' change of heart. Slightly less (21%) attributed the more open attitude to parents further educating themselves about the issue.

A small percentage of HCPs (8%) stated that they refuse to treat families who will not follow recommended inoculation schedules. But among the 92% of practices that continue to see unimmunized patients, many employ particular strategies that have been effective in converting hesitant parents:

More than two-thirds of HCPs (69%) have had success by providing fact-based information that answers specific parent questions.

More than half (53%) share immunization plans for their own children.

Nearly half (48%) create an 'alternative' type of vaccine schedule to help parents with their concerns.

Despite growing acceptance, some parents continue to resist vaccinating their children. Nearly one-third (32%) of HCPs report no change in parents' willingness to accept vaccines despite recent outbreaks, and 61% still hear suspicions voiced about an erroneous "connection" between immunizations and autism.

WebMD Stress in Children Survey Key Findings:

Underestimating Childhood Stress
The WebMD Stress in Children Survey indicates that parents may be missing important cues about the degree and nature of their children's stress. Respondents stated that their children exhibited increased negative behaviors over the past 12 months, including arguments (43%), anger (32%), lying (32%), and temper tantrums (31%). Likewise, between one-third and one-half of parents reported their kids complain about physical ailments that often are consistent with stress, including stomachaches (44%), headaches (44%), and trouble sleeping/nightmares (38%). Yet 54% of respondents believe their children's stress is only moderate. 

A majority of respondents also report that their family has experienced one or more major life stressors in the past year -- the type of life events known to create significant stress in children. Specifically, 57% of parents rate their own stress as high, and 60% of parents said their family experienced at least one major negative life event over the past 12 months, including job loss, financial problems, divorce and/or the death or serious illness of a loved one. Yet the two most common primary causes of children's stress cited by parents were "schoolwork/homework" (53%) and "friends/relationships" (51%).

Expert Quotes:
Dr. Michael Smith, Chief Medical Editor, WebMD, said, "These surveys are particularly timely and important as parents and children prepare for the new school year. They provide valuable perspective on areas that affect the physical and emotional lives of children."

Dr. Hansa Bhargava, WebMD expert pediatrician, noted, "The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages doctors and health care providers to talk to parents so that communication lines remain open. This can allow for further education about the benefits of vaccines and hopefully can reassure parents who choose to get protection for their children by vaccinating."

Bhargava commented: "The WebMD survey immediately raised a few red flags. Parents seemed to discount their children's stress levels, even while saying they had traumatic family events over the past year. When asked what they thought were the primary sources of their kids' stress, they tended to name more generic causes, such as homework and school."

Carrie Byington, MD, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases and the H.A. and Edna Benning Presidential Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, mentioned: "We've seen this happen every time there have been outbreaks. The imminent risk may change [parents'] attitudes about immunizing their child."

Medscape Vaccine Acceptance Report: Methodology

To learn if clinicians have noted any changes in vaccine acceptance by parents since the measles outbreak in late 2014/early 2015, in July 2015, we surveyed US Medscape members most involved with vaccinations in children (pediatricians, family medicine MDs, public health MDs, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants). Respondents were required to be working in a practice setting that administers vaccines to patients under the age of 18 or responsible for developing and/or overseeing policy related to the administration of vaccines in his/her organization. A total of 1,577 healthcare professionals met the screening criteria and completed the survey. The margin of error for the survey was +2.46% at a 95% confidence level, using a point estimate (a statistic) of 50%.

WebMD Stress in Children Consumer Survey Methodology

The WebMD Stress in Children Consumer Survey was completed by 432 random WebMD site visitors from June 1 through July 31, 2015. All WebMDvisitors had an equal probability of beginning the survey. However, only respondents with children 5 through 13 years old living at least part-time in their home, and for whom the respondent was a parent or guardian, were allowed to complete the survey. The sample represents this described online population with a margin of error of ±4.8% at a 95% confidence level, using a point estimate (a statistic) of 50%.

About Medscape and WebMD

Medscape, a subsidiary of WebMD Health Corp., is the leading source of clinical news, health information and point-of-care tools for healthcare professionals. Medscape offers specialists, primary care physicians and other health professionals the most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools. Medscape Education ( is the leading destination for continuous professional development, consisting of more than 30 specialty-focused destinations offering thousands of free C.M.E. and C.E. courses and other educational programs for physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

WebMD Health Corp. is the leading provider of health information services, serving consumers, physicians, healthcare professionals, employers, and health plans through our public and private online portals, mobile platforms and health-focused publications.

The WebMD Health Network includes WebMD Health, Medscape, MedicineNet, eMedicineHealth, RxList, Medscape Education and other owned WebMD sites.

WebMD®, Medscape®, CME Circle®, Medpulse®, eMedicine®, MedicineNet®,® and RxList® are among the trademarks of WebMD Health Corp. or its subsidiaries.




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