Two different messages were created. Half of the mothers and students received a message sheet about the vaccine with a large headline that read, "Prevent cervical cancer." The other half received a similar message, but with the headline declaring, "Prevent genital warts." A text box on the sheet also re-emphasized either the cancer or the genital warts message.
Participants then filled out the questionnaire, which asked a variety of questions that included how they felt about the threat of HPV and whether they felt they (or their daughter) could talk to a doctor about receiving the vaccine.
Results showed that the message emphasizing the vaccine's effectiveness at preventing genital warts was a clear winner with the young women.
Compared to those who received the cancer prevention message, young women who read that the vaccine prevented genital warts were more likely to say they intended to talk to their doctor about the vaccine. They also said they felt more comfortable talking to their doctor about the vaccine.
"Preventing cancer was not a big motivator," Krieger said.
Overall, the findings showed that scaring young women into getting the vaccine doesn't seem to be a good strategy.
Young women who perceived HPV as a bigger threat to their health than others, or who thought they were more likely to get the virus, were not consequently more likely to say they would get the vaccine or talk to their doctor.
"Our results suggest it is more important to get women to feel comfortable talking to their doctor about the vaccine," she said. "Fear doesn't work. They need to feel it is not difficult or embarrassing to discuss the va
|Contact: Janice Krieger|
Ohio State University