221929 Contribution of communication inequalities to disparities in HPV vaccine awareness and knowledge

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 8:48 AM - 9:06 AM

Emily Zobel Kontos, ScD , Dept of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Karen M. Emmons, PhD , Department of Society, Human Development and Health/Division of Community-Based Research, Harvard School of Public Health/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
Elaine Puleo, PhD , School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
K. Viswanath, PhD , Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
There are significant disparities in HPV vaccine completion rates across racial and social groups. The purpose of our study is to examine the impact of Internet-related communication inequalities on HPV vaccine awareness and infection knowledge. Data for this study were drawn from National Cancer Institute's 2007 HINTS survey (n= 7674). Multivariate logistic regression models were estimated to assess three dimensions of Internet use and information seeking behavior (general Internet-user, general health Internet information seeker and cancer Internet information seeker) on awareness and knowledge (having heard of the HPV vaccine, HPV as a cause of cervical cancer, and HPV transmitted through sexual contact). Models included socio-demographic characteristics along with relevant covariates. General Internet users, compared to non-users are 2.41 times (CI:1.96,2.95) more likely to be aware of the HPV vaccine and 1.42 times more likely (CI:1.05,1.94) to know that HPV causes cervical cancer. Among general health information seekers, non-Internet seekers, compared to Internet information seekers, exhibited lower odds of being aware of HPV vaccine OR=0.59 (CI:0.46,0.75), knowing about HPV cancer outcomes OR=0.79 (CI:0.63,0.99), and HPV and sexual contact OR=0.71 (CI:0.57,0.89). Among cancer information seekers, there were no differences in outcomes between Internet seekers and non-Internet seekers. Our results offer evidence that we have to be concerned with reliance on Internet-based direct-to-consumer marketing as the main source of HPV information in the US. Using a communication channel, such as the Internet, whose use is already socially and racially patterned, may play an important role in widening observed disparities in vaccine completion rates.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to list the disparities in HPV vaccine initiation and completion rates across racial/ethnic groups and social class. 2. Participants will be able to explain the term “communication inequalities”. 3. Participants will be able to quantitatively define the association between Internet information seeking behaviors and HPV awareness and knowledge. 4. Participants will be able to discuss how the communication strategy of direct-to-consumer marketing may influence HPV vaccine completion rates.

Keywords: Health Communications, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have extensive health communication research experience and training which has specifically focused on exploring the link between communication and health disparities. I have also served as a director of social marketing for a state department of public health as well as a project director and researcher for community-based health communication interventions targeted at low-SES and minority populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.