Young women's perspectives on cervical cancer prevention in Appalachian Kentucky

Qual Health Res. 2012 Apr;22(4):476-87. doi: 10.1177/1049732311425053. Epub 2011 Nov 7.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination coupled with routine Papanicolaou (Pap) tests can prevent pervasive HPV infections causing cervical cancer. However, both HPV vaccination rates and Pap testing rates in Appalachian Kentucky are lower among all age groups than the rest of the United States. We recruited 19 young women residing in Appalachian Kentucky from university-based and rural clinical settings for group and individual interviews. After considering an integrated behavioral framework, we illustrate these women's perspectives by detailing five themes, including (a) experiential beliefs pose barriers to performing behaviors, (b) three vaccine doses complicate vaccination intention, (c) women have misunderstandings about HPV and the HPV vaccination function, (d) normative influences cue action (and inaction), and (e) specific environmental and contextual barriers exist to performing cervical cancer prevention behaviors in Appalachian Kentucky. These findings related to cervical cancer prevention in Appalachian Kentucky have implications for health-message design and clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Appalachian Region
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Kentucky / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / psychology
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Population
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / etiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology
  • Women's Health*
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines