College women’s attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs regarding the HPV vaccine: Translation to health education practice


Background: Cervical cancer is primarily caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and is the second most common cause of cancer-related mortality among women. Purpose: College women may be at risk for contracting HPV based on their sexual behavior. An exploratory analysis was conducted, following the release of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil[R], to (1) determine awareness of HPV and Gardasil[R], (2) assess attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs about the HPV vaccine, and (3) identify information sources that college women are accessing. Methods: A cross-sectional study of college women (n=293) enrolled in a Northeastern university voluntarily completed a self-administered questionnaire regarding knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs about HPV and the HPV vaccine. Statistical analyses include descriptive statistics, Pearson's correlations, and paired sample t-tests. Results: Sexually active respondents would recommend the HPV vaccine to others and disagree that HPV vaccination would encourage risky sexual behavior. Yet, "need more information" is the predominant reason respondents would not get the HPV vaccine if it were offered for free. Discussion: Correlations are identified on how self-reported knowledge influenced attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs regarding the HPV vaccine. Translation to Health Education Practice: These findings should assist health educators in developing integrated public health education efforts for HPV vaccination that are targeted towards this at-risk population. (Contains 2 tables and 1 note.)


Health Management and Policy

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