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Ethn Dis. 2011 Autumn;21(4):495-501.

The impact of social communication on perceived HPV vaccine effectiveness in a low-income, minority population.

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Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.



Perceived vaccine effectiveness is linked to vaccine-uptake. This study aims to determine if hearing about the HPV vaccine from family/friends (social source) or discussing the vaccine with family/friends (social discussion) is associated with perceived HPV vaccine effectiveness among female ethnic-minority, medical-decision-makers of vaccine-eligible girls.


Data come from a cross-sectional HPV vaccine telephone-survey administered by the Los Angeles County Office of Women's Health (OWH) hotline operators between January-November 2009. Among survey participants who reported awareness of the HPV vaccine (n=294), two logistic regression models of perceived HPV vaccine effectiveness were conducted; a source of information model with social source as the main predictor, and a discussion model with social discussion as the main predictor. These were adjusted for medical source and medical discussion, and covariates affecting interaction with the health care system.


Women who heard about the HPV vaccine from a social source were more likely to perceive the vaccine as effective compared to those who did not report a social source of information (adjusted OR 4.78, 95% CI 1.76-12.98). Medical source of information was also associated with perceived vaccine effectiveness (adjusted OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.06-4.05). Those who reported social discussion, but not those who discussed the vaccine with a medical provider, had increased odds of perceived vaccine effectiveness (adjusted OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.04-3.78).


Social source of information and social discussion were associated with perceived HPV vaccine effectiveness; this highlights the value of social communication among low-income minority women, and the need for vaccine-messaging interventions that utilize a social network approach.(Ethn Dis. 2011;21(4):495-501)

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