Decision-Making about the HPV Vaccine among Ethnically Diverse Parents: Implications for Health Communications

J Oncol. 2012;2012:401979. doi: 10.1155/2012/401979. Epub 2011 Nov 15.


Objective: To describe parents' knowledge, attitudes, and decision-making with regard to obtaining the HPV vaccine for their daughters.

Methods: White, Black, and Hispanic parents of daughters who were age eligible to receive the HPV vaccine (9-17 years) were recruited from community settings to participate in focus groups. Parents were asked about knowledge and awareness of HPV, decision-making about HPV vaccine, as well as preferred and actual sources of HPV information.

Results: Seven focus groups (n = 64 participants) were conducted. Groups were segmented by gender (women = 72%) and race/ethnicity (Black = 59%; White = 23%; Hispanic = 19%). Prevalent themes included: insufficient information to make informed decisions; varied preferences for involvement in decision-making; concerns about vaccine safety; mistrust of medical providers and pharmaceutical companies; and mismatch between actual and preferred sources of information.

Discussion: Improving communication between providers and caregivers and helping parents to access information necessary for informed decision-making, while alleviating concerns about vaccine safety, may help to improve vaccine acceptance.