Article by Amy E. Leader, Judith L. Weiner, Bridget J. Kelly, Robert C. Hornik, and Joseph N. Cappella in the Journal of Women's Health (Vol. 18, No. 2, 2009).
Background: In June 2006, the first vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) transmission was approved for use in females in the United States. Because the vaccine was approved for females as young as 9, its success depends on parents’ and individuals’ willingness to accept vaccination. Little is known about how attitudes toward this vaccine will be influenced by the way the vaccine is portrayed in the media or in public debate.
Methods: To assess the effects of information framing on intentions to vaccinate self or female children, if appropriate, 635 adults read one of three short descriptive paragraphs about the vaccine, each of which emphasized a different aspect of the vaccine. Participants were then asked about their intentions to vaccinate under cost or no-cost conditions.
Results: Women who read that the vaccine protects only against cervical cancer had significantly higher intentions to vaccinate themselves when the vaccine was available at little or no cost compared with women who read alternate versions of the descriptive paragraph, F(2,325) 5.74, p 0.004.
Conclusions: How the HPV vaccine is framed may affect vaccination intentions under certain conditions. Women may be more receptive to the vaccine if it is framed as a cervical cancer prevention tool rather than a sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention tool.