Rural African Parents' Knowledge and Decisions About Human Papillomavirus Vaccination

Purpose: To identify predictors of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among rural African American families. Design: Cross-sectional descriptive study in schools in three rural counties in southeastern United States. The sample consisted of African American parents or caregivers with children 9 to 13 years of age who attended elementary or middle school in 2010–2011. Methods: Using an anonymous, 26-item survey, we collected descriptive data during parent-teacher events from African American parents with children in elementary or middle school. The main outcome was measured as a response of “yes” to the statement “I have or will vaccinate my child with the HPV vaccine.” In addition, composite scores of knowledge and positive attitudes and beliefs were compared. No interventions were conducted. Findings: We identified predictors of HPV vaccination and found that religious affiliation had a correlation with vaccinating or planning to vaccinate a child. Conclusions: Results indicate a need for further research on the role of local culture, including religion and faith, in rural African Americans’ decisions about giving their children the HPV vaccination. Clinical Relevance: This study emphasizes the importance of understanding rural African American parents’ knowledge, attitudes, and spiritual beliefs when designing health education programs and public health interventions to increase HPV vaccination uptake among African American boys and girls living in rural areas.
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