Young women's perspectives on cervical cancer prevention in Appalachian Kentucky

Katharine J. Head, Elisia L. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination coupled with routine Papanicolaou (Pap) tests can prevent pervasive HPV infections causing cervical cancer. However, both HPV vaccination rates and Pap testing rates in Appalachian Kentucky are lower among all age groups than the rest of the United States. We recruited 19 young women residing in Appalachian Kentucky from university-based and rural clinical settings for group and individual interviews. After considering an integrated behavioral framework, we illustrate these women's perspectives by detailing five themes, including (a) experiential beliefs pose barriers to performing behaviors, (b) three vaccine doses complicate vaccination intention, (c) women have misunderstandings about HPV and the HPV vaccination function, (d) normative influences cue action (and inaction), and (e) specific environmental and contextual barriers exist to performing cervical cancer prevention behaviors in Appalachian Kentucky. These findings related to cervical cancer prevention in Appalachian Kentucky have implications for health-message design and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-487
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The study described in this article was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 1U48DP001932-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The second author was also supported by Award Number P50CA095815 from the National Cancer Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • cancer, screening and prevention
  • communication
  • immunization
  • research, rural
  • women's health
  • young adults


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