What college women know, think, and do about human papilloma virus and HPV vaccine.

Ratanasiripong, N.T., Cheng, A-L., & Enriquez, M., (2013). What college women know, think, and do about human papilloma virus and HPV vaccine. Vaccine, 31, 1370-1376.

Objectives: This cross-sectional study, guided by Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior, aimed to identify factors that influence the decision to obtain an HPV vaccine among college women and to examine the relationships among these factors.

Methods: An electronic self-administered survey was utilized to collect data. An email invitation was sent to 3074 college women attending a large, public university in southern California, aged between 18 and 26 years. The email directed the recipient to click on a link to a web-based survey if she wanted to participate in the study. 

Results: Participants in this study were college women (n = 384; 175 HPV non-vaccinees and 209 HPV vaccinees). Women in this study knew that a Pap test is still needed after HPV vaccination and that the HPV vaccine does not protect against other Sexually Transmitted Infections. Both non-vaccinees and vaccinees had positive attitudes about mandating HPV vaccine. Knowledge and attitudes toward the vaccine were not directly linked to the outcome predictors – intention to obtain the vaccine and vaccine uptake. Attitude about receiving HPV vaccine, subjective norms (complying with the expectations of others), and perceived behavioral control were correlated with the outcome predictors. Subjective norms consistently predicted intention to obtain HPV vaccine and vaccine uptake. 

Conclusions: A proposal to mandate the HPV vaccine among young girls/women was acceptable to this population. Vaccination promotion strategies to increase the vaccine uptake rate among the catch-up group (aged 13–26) should include attention to college women’s subjective norms. Health care provider’s recommendation and encouragement from significant others (i.e., mother and peers) are critical in order for the college women to obtain the vaccine. 

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