Online Program

An application of the message convergence framework to young women's HPV vaccination decisions

Monday, November 4, 2013

Katharine Head, MA, Graduate Program in Communication, University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information, Lexington, KY
Bethney Wilson, M.A., Graduate Program in Communication, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Elisia Cohen, PhD, Department of Communication, University of Kentucky College of Communications and Information Studies, Lexington, KY
This project identifies how the communication environment in which young women make their HPV vaccination decision can extend research in considering optimal strategies to enhance demand for vaccination. Utilizing the message convergence framework (MCF), this study examines the multiple and often competing messages and sources of messages that women receive about vaccination. We interviewed unvaccinated adult women aged 18-26 years (n=39) in Kentucky. Participants discussed vaccination decisions and recalled media messages and conversations with family, friends, and healthcare providers about HPV vaccination. We analyzed the transcripts using a provisional technique to gain a deeper understanding of the communication environment around HPV vaccination and identified how these young women discuss messages “converging” to influence their decision. Mothers and healthcare providers represent the most common and influential sources, with mass media and peers also serving as important sources. Young women reported mothers focusing on risk of the vaccine and providers focusing on risk of cervical cancer. Interestingly, both these sources also voiced messages about lack of risk of HPV because they perceived a young woman not to be sexually active. These findings indicate that these unvaccinated young women are responding to messages targeting short-term risks of the vaccine, and neglecting the long-term benefits of vaccination. Additionally, they may be allowing the focus on the stigmatized sexual transmission of this disease to affect decision-making, even when they are sexually active. This application of MCF, from an ecological perspective, has utility for researchers and practitioners considering the communication environment when designing health messages.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify important sources of influence on HPV vaccination decision making for young adult women. List common messages received from these important sources of influence on HPV vaccination decision making for young adult women. Discuss implications of these sources and messages for future HPV vaccination interventions for young adult women.

Keyword(s): Women, Cervical Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Doctorate research focuses on HPV vaccination behaviors and cervical cancer prevention.
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.

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