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Pediatrics. 2010 May;125(5):982-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-2888. Epub 2010 Apr 12.

Mother-daughter communication and human papillomavirus vaccine uptake by college students.

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  • 1Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.

Erratum in

  • Pediatrics.2010 Sep;126(3):617.



Although a human papillomavirus(HPV) vaccine has been available for more than 3 years, little research has documented the uptake and predictors of vaccination among older adolescents and young adult women. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine the prevalence of HPV vaccination among college women across time and to explore the effect of mother-daughter communication on vaccination.


During the period of fall 2007 through fall 2009, a convenience sample of 972 female undergraduate students (aged 18-25) at a large Midwestern state university (89% white) completed a paper-and-pencil or online anonymous questionnaire that assessed their sexual-risk behavior, knowledge of HPV, perceptions of HPV risk, communication from their mothers about sex-related topics (including HPV), and their current vaccination status.


Sixty-five percent of the women reported being sexually active, and 49% reported having received at least the first of the 3-shot vaccine series. The mother's approval of HPV vaccination, mother-daughter communication about sex, and daughter's perceptions of vulnerability to HPV were positively associated with vaccination status. Among the women who had not received any of the HPV shots, the mother's approval of HPV vaccination, perceived vulnerability to HPV, and risky sexual behavior were predictive of interest in receiving the vaccine. Mother-daughter communication about values related to sex was negatively associated with interest.


Although many of these young women were old enough to receive the vaccine without their parents' consent, perception of their mother's approval and mother-daughter communication about sex were important predictors of vaccination.

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