Evaluation of graphic messages to promote human papillomavirus vaccination among young adults: A statewide cross-sectional survey

Prev Med Rep. 2019 Jan 11:13:256-261. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.01.002. eCollection 2019 Mar.


Young adults in the United States 18-26 years of age are eligible for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, yet they rarely attend preventive healthcare visits. In contrast, they have a high prevalence of social media use, which could be leveraged to provide healthcare recommendations. Since graphics attract users, the study's primary objective was to determine the most appealing graphic to promote HPV vaccination to young adults. A cross-sectional survey was conducted at the Minnesota State Fair. Participants 18-26 years of age completed a 36-item survey including information on demographics, HPV vaccination status, eHealth literacy, and assessed the appeal of 8 Instagram graphic mock-ups promoting HPV vaccination to prevent cancer. The graphics represented 4 categories: 1) infographics; 2) disease photos; 3) young adult cancer patient photos; 4) humorous graphics. A total of 1037 eligible young adults participated in the study. Median age was 22 years. A majority were women (63%), white (82%), educated (79% post-secondary education or greater), or privately insured (85%). Although 61% reported receiving at least one dose of HPV vaccine, only 48% reported receiving all three recommended doses. Participants were slightly more drawn to posts with humorous graphics or infographics than disease or patient photos (pairwise p-values <0.0001). There were small but statistically significant differences in response to graphics by gender, race, HPV vaccination status, and eHealth literacy. In conclusion, graphic types tested in this study showed only small differences in response, suggesting that factors other than graphic type need to be explored to improve appeal of HPV vaccine promotional messaging.

Keywords: Graphics; HPV vaccination; Health promotion; Social media.