What parents and their adolescent sons suggest for male HPV vaccine messaging

Health Psychol. 2014 May;33(5):448-56. doi: 10.1037/a0033863. Epub 2014 Mar 3.


Objective: The purpose of this article was to identify the information parents and their adolescent sons deem important when making the decision to get vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV).

Method: Twenty-one adolescent males (ages 13 to 17), with no previous HPV vaccination, and their parents were recruited from adolescent primary care clinics serving low- to middle-income families in a large Midwestern city. Dyad members participated in separate semistructured interviews eliciting the information participants felt would increase vaccine uptake and series completion via media and clinic-based sources. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded using inductive content analysis.

Results: Overall, participants felt fear-based messages would be most effective for increasing vaccination uptake through commercials. When describing clinic messages, parents and sons felt the most important component was a recommendation for vaccination from the health care provider (HCP). Additionally, parents desired more information about the vaccine from the HCP than the sons, including cost, number of shots, and time since the approval of the vaccine for males. Compared with the clinic message, the commercial message was a vector for vaccine awareness, whereas the clinic message was a source of vaccine information. Vaccine initiation messages should provide vaccine information and come from an HCP, whereas completion messages should remind the patient why they initiated the vaccine and can come from any medical staff.

Conclusions: Family/individual-focused interventions should be tailored to message source, timing, and target audience. This information can be used to guide public health professionals in the development of interventions to increase vaccine uptake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Consumer Health Information
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Vaccination / psychology*


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines