Avoiding HPV: A Mother-Daughter Conversation

College-aged women more likely to receive HPV vaccine if they've talked to mom about it

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A recent study from Ohio State University reveals the importance of mothers talking to their daughters about the human papillomavirus (HPV) and its vaccine.

The study found that young women in their college years who had talked to their mothers about the HPV vaccine were more likely to get vaccinated.

HPV is a highly common sexually transmitted infection (STI) consisting of over forty different types. In the United States, an estimated 20 million men and women are infected. Although the immune system can fight off HPV in the vast majority of cases, the infection can lead to many severe conditions. In women, cervical cancer is the most common and severe result of HPV infection.

The study, which appears is published in the January 2011 issue of the journal Human Communication Research, was led by Janice Krieger, assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University. Krieger and colleagues gave questionnaires to 182 mother-daughter pairs. They found that 137 of their mother-daughter duos had discussed the HPV vaccine, while the remaining 45 had not discussed it.

Answers to the questionnaires showed that the critical motivator for daughters to get vaccinated was a conversation with their mothers about the HPV vaccine. The researchers also reported that fear of contracting HPV was not a factor which led mothers and daughters to talk about the vaccine. Rather, the likelihood of discussing HPV vaccination, says Krieger, rests on the mother's ability to bring up the potentially uncomfortable subject and her belief that the vaccine is safe and effective.

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Review Date: 
January 3, 2011
Last Updated:
May 6, 2013