Parents' Internet use for information about HPV vaccine

Annie Laurie McRee, Paul L. Reiter, Noel T. Brewer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    53 Scopus citations


    Purpose: The Internet is an increasingly common source of health-related information. We sought to examine associations between parents' Internet information-seeking and their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Methods: We interviewed parents within a year after approval of HPV vaccine for females and males. Participants were North Carolina parents with daughters ages 10-18 surveyed by telephone in Fall 2007 (n= 773); and a national sample of parents with sons ages 11-17 surveyed online in Fall 2010 (n= 115). We used multivariate regression to examine associations of past and intended Internet seeking for HPV vaccine information with knowledge and health belief model-related constructs. Results: Among parents of daughters, having heard of HPV vaccine through the Internet (8%) was associated with higher HPV knowledge, perceived likelihood of HPV, and vaccination willingness, and with receiving a doctor's recommendation. It was also associated with lower perceived vaccine harms, uncertainty, and anticipated regret. Parents of sons who heard of HPV vaccine through the Internet (10%) perceived greater barriers to vaccination than parents who learned about HPV vaccine for males through other sources. Intended future Internet information-seeking among parents of daughters (69%) was more likely if they perceived a lower likelihood that their daughters would get HPV if they were vaccinated (all p<.05). Conclusions: Our findings suggest a positive influence of accessing information on the Internet about HPV vaccine. It was associated with higher knowledge and mostly positive parental attitudes and beliefs.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3757-3762
    Number of pages6
    Issue number25
    StatePublished - May 28 2012

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This research was supported in part by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (S3715-25/25) and the Investigator-Initiated Studies Program of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. The views and findings in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or those of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Additional support was provided by the American Cancer Society (MSRG-06-259-01-CPPB), and the Cancer Control Education Program at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (R25 CA57726).

    Funding Information:
    A research grant to NTB and PLR from Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. funded the HIS Study. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. played no role in the study design, planning, implementation, analysis, or reporting of the findings. NTB has also received grants and/or honoraria from GlaxoSmithKline and Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. PLR has not received honoraria or consulting fees from these companies.


    • Adolescent health
    • Health belief model
    • HPV vaccine
    • Internet

    PubMed: MeSH publication types

    • Journal Article
    • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
    • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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