Mothers Influence Daughters' Uptake of HPV Vaccine

Young women's perceptions of their mothers' attitudes play role in vaccination decisions

WEDNESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Even when young women are old enough to get vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) without parental consent, mother-daughter communication about sex and daughters' perception of their mothers' approval of the vaccination are important predictors of vaccination, according to research published online April 12 in Pediatrics.

Megan E. Roberts, of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and colleagues collected data from 972 female students aged 18 to 25 at a large Midwestern university via a questionnaire that assessed their sexual risk behavior, knowledge and perception of HPV and its risks, communication from their mothers on sex-related topics, and their current vaccination status.

The researchers found that 65 percent of the women reported being sexually active, and 49 percent reported having received at least the first of the three-shot vaccine series. There was a positive association between vaccination status and the mothers' approval of HPV vaccination, mother-daughter communications about sex, and daughters' perceptions of vulnerability to HPV. Among the women who had not received any HPV shots, perceived vulnerability to HPV, mothers' approval and risky sexual behavior were predictive of interest in receiving the vaccine. However, mother-daughter communication about sex-related values was negatively associated with interest.

"Consistent with previous research on children and younger adolescents, mother-daughter communication and approval of vaccination emerged as important predictors of young women's HPV-vaccination behavior and intentions, even after the women were old enough to not require parental approval," the authors write.

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