Background: State and national policymakers are actively debating the merits of legally mandating the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional pilot study designed to identify factors associated with HPV vaccination in 170 high school girls and the decision making by girls about vaccination.
Results: Overall, 48.4% participated in the vaccination decision making and 37.8% were vaccinated, but there were significant vaccine-related knowledge gaps. Girls often lacked basic knowledge necessary to make vaccine decisions. Vaccination was significantly associated with older age, vaccine information sources, and higher vaccine-related knowledge, but not with estimates of risk of HPV-related diseases, religion, or frequency of health care visits.
Conclusions: This paper describes the first study to have identified factors associated with HPV vaccination among California high school girls and to have documented that a high percentage are participating in the vaccination decision making. These findings have implications for adolescent health education and nursing practice and provide new information relevant to the current public policy debates about mandatory vaccination.
Copyright 2010 National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.