The Roles Of Personal Need For Structure


Individually, the cognition of social impact and information could be different. In order to understand the individual personalities, it is essential to influence the unintentional cognitive process relating to stereotype formation (Schaller, Boyd, Yohannes & O’Brien 1995). For some reasons, false stereotypes may be failing to access sufficient information in the social (Schaller et al., 1995). Therefore, Personal Need for Structure (PNS) as one of the methods can analyse individual differences for predicting and controlling the issue (Schaller et al., 1995). “Personal Need for structure (PNS) is based on the assumption of a certain individual’s ability to reduce the uncertainty of the situation” (Svecove & Pavlovicova, 2016, p 652). PNS assess the level of simplified individual desire and order their world (Schaller et al., 1995).

Alternatively, Weary & Edwards (1994) suggested that the constant feeling of uncertainty lead to the development of social cognitive steps. They described this as measuring chronic individual differences in the uncertainty of the ability to make sense of and finding the cause and its result in the social environment. They called it Causal Uncertainty and measured its scale in their study (Weary & Edwards, 1994). At the point of analysing individual differences scale, both PNS and CU can be the adequate study methods to infer uncertainty situation. Schaller et al., (1995) and Weary & Edwards, (1994) applied PNS and CU respectively to explore the result about social cognition. According to Weary & Edwards, (1994), they claimed that casual uncertainty is available for all people because we are exposed to some uncertainties and unclear situations.


Regarding PNS, it is not only finding personality variable but also affect statistical inferring and results in erroneous group formation (Schaller et al., 1995). In the 1950s, most researches were focused on the personality of ethnocentrism and prejudice; other prejudice researches were divided into cognitive management and general unbearable vagueness (Schaller et al., 1995). Since then, the study of intolerance personality characteristic about intergroup perception was isolated. However, the new viewpoint is revealed the more cognitive process that focused on formation and managing of stereotype people (Schaller et al., 1995).

Recently, many parents have preferred alternative vaccination approaches thus skipping or delaying the vaccinations. Various researches indicate that parents are highly sensitive to benefits and harms of vaccination which results in their attitudes towards the importance of vaccination. Literature has shown that effective communication regarding the vaccines mainly influences parental health-related attitudes. Particularly, Opstelten et al. (2008) pose that the vaccination schedule for children is abided by parents as a result of effective physician communication concerning vaccination. Furthermore, a systematic review on beliefs and attitudes regarding vaccination indicated distrust and poor communication as the main challenges to timely vaccination (Zuzak, 2008).

Vaccination is an important issue to achieve in public health as it contributes to the mortality and morbidity of various inflectional diseases (Dube et al., 2013). Nowadays, many parents are concerned whether they should take non-vaccine, or vaccine or delaying vaccine because of increased sensitivity to the perceived negative and confident of the vaccination for their children (Latella, McAuley, & Rabinowitz, 2018). According to Smith et al. (2011), they illustrated in their report that vaccine refusal regarding autism was mainly because of the vaccine effectiveness or side effects were seen among people and media in the society. When parents decide whether their children vaccinate or not, it is essential to understand how parents consider possible risk and efficacy of the vaccine (Serpell & Green, 2006).

People are living in a complex world which is rich in information; thus barriers or exposure to unwanted information is a frequent phenomenon (Neuberg & Newsom, 1993). Vaccine decisions include the complex interaction of different society, culture and personal factors (Dube et al., 2013). Through the article of Schaller, et al., (1995), PNS can be applied to know the reasoning process and judgment with associating group to infer what influencing when parents decide for children’s vaccine. Besides, a personal factor, “CU” from Weary & Edwards, (1994) article is used to understand individual differences of dispositional effect.

The purpose of this research is to assess how parents’ feeling of uncertainty influences the social cognitive process. Additionally, the paper aims at determining how the human personality influences the cognitive process relating to stereotype formation when parents decide for their children’s vaccine mainly using the articles such as Weary & Edwards (1994) and Schaller et al., (1995). As hypothetically viewed, CU will show the chronic individual differences prove importance to the social judgment processes. PNS also shows the way in which individual social world affect the cognitive process.

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  • Dubé, E., Laberge, C., Guay, M., Bramadat, P., Roy, R., & Bettinger, J. A. (2013). Vaccine hesitancy: An overview. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 9(8), 1763–1773. Retrieved from
  • Latella, L, E., McAuley, R, J., & Rabinowitz, M. (2018). Belief about vaccinations: Comparing a sample from a medical school to that from the general population. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(4), 620. Retrieved from
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  • Opstelten, W., van Essen, G. A., Ballieux, M. J., & Goudswaard, A. N. (2008). Influenza immunization of Dutch general practitioners: vaccination rate and attitudes towards vaccination. Vaccine, 26(47), 5918-5921.
  • Schaller, M., Boyd, C., Yohannes, J., & O’Brien, M. (1995). The prejudiced personality revisited: Personal need for structure and formation of erroneous group stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(3), 544–555
  • Serpell, L., & Green, J. (2006). Parental decision-making in childhood vaccination. Vaccine, 24(19), 4041-4046.
  • Smith, P. J., Humiston, S. G., Marcuse, E. K., Zhao, Z., Dorell, C. G., Howes, C., & Hibbs, B. (2011). Parental delay or refusal of vaccine doses, childhood vaccination coverage at 24 months of age, and the Health Belief Model. Public Health Reports, 126(2_suppl): 135–146. Retrieved from
  • Svecova, V., & Pavlovicova, G. (2016). Screening the Personal Need for the Structure and solving word problems with fractions. SpringerPlus, 5, 652.
  • Weary, G., & Edwards, J.A. (1994). Individual differences in causal uncertainty. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 308-318.
  • Zuzak, T. J., Zuzak-Siegrist, I., Rist, L., Staubli, G., & Simoes-Wust, A. P. (2008). Attitudes towards vaccination: users of complementary and alternative medicine versus non-users. Swiss medical weekly, 138(47), 713.

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