Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is a safe and effective primary prevention strategy for cervical cancer. Despite the need for effective HPV vaccination interventions, relatively few have been tested. Moreover, existing interventions have tended to use a one-size-fits-all educational approach. We investigated whether tailoring intervention materials to young adult women’s perceived barriers to HPV vaccination—a known psychosocial predictor of vaccine uptake—would increase women’s intentions to receive the HPV vaccine.
Young adult women (N = 94; aged 18–26 years) who had not been vaccinated against HPV were randomly assigned to read either a nontailored message about HPV vaccination or a message that was individually tailored to participants’ perceived barriers to HPV vaccine uptake (e.g., safety concerns, cost, and not sexually active). Participants’ intentions to receive the HPV vaccine in the next year were assessed before and after delivery of the intervention and served as the primary outcome variable.
The most commonly selected barrier and primary reason for not getting vaccinated was concern about vaccine adverse effects (endorsed by 55%). Knowledge about HPV vaccination increased after exposure to the intervention but did not differ by experimental condition. Although HPV vaccination intentions increased from pretest to posttest in both conditions, participants in the tailored condition reported greater increases in intentions than did participants in the nontailored condition (F1,90 = 4.02, P = 0.048, partial η2 = 0.043).
Findings suggest that tailoring intervention materials to women’s individual barriers is a potentially promising strategy for increasing HPV vaccination among young adult women.