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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2012, Article ID 401979, 5 pages
Research Article

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

1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA
2Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3American University, Washington, DC 20016, USA
4Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY 10032, USA

Received 28 July 2011; Accepted 29 August 2011

Academic Editor: Adhemar Longatto-Filho

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer D. Allen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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 = 6 4 participants) were conducted. Groups were segmented by gender ( w o m e n = 7 2 %) and race/ethnicity ( B l a c k = 5 9 %; W h i t e = 2 3 %; H i s p a n i c = 1 9 %). 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.