Knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors: examining human papillomavirus-related gender differences among African American college students

J Am Coll Health. 2011;59(4):296-302. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2010.503725.


Objective: Given recent approval for administration of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to men, it is important to assess the HPV-related perspectives of men and women. The purpose of this study was to examine gender differences in HPV knowledge, beliefs, and vaccine acceptance among college students attending 3 historically black colleges/universities in the Southeast.

Participants and methods: A nonprobability sample of 575 students completed a self-report questionnaire.

Results: Males were significantly less likely to have heard of HPV, scored lower in HPV knowledge, were less likely to perceive HPV health outcomes as severe and that there was a benefit to vaccinate, reported fewer cues for vaccine acceptance, and perceived more barriers to vaccination compared to females (all p < .05).

Conclusions: The gender disparities demonstrated in this study highlight the need to increase HPV-related communication/education to include men and to extend HPV research to a broader segment of the college population.

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomaviridae
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Perception
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • South Carolina / epidemiology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines