Health Policy

The Birds, the Bees, and the HPVs: What Drives Mothers' Intentions to Use the HPV Vaccination as a Chance to Talk About Sex?

Askelson, N.M.; Campo, S.; Smith, S.; Lowe, J.B.; Dennis, L.K.; Andsager, J.
2011 May-Jun


Parent-child communication about sex is a way to protect adolescents from engaging in risky behavior. The human papillomavirus vaccine provides mothers with a teachable moment to communicate about sex. This study examines mothers' intentions to talk about sex in conjunction with the vaccination of daughters ages 9 to 15 years, using the Theory of Planned Behavior as a framework. A random sample of mothers was surveyed (N=217). Findings indicated that mothers' intentions were driven by attitudes, subjective norms, and the age at which they intended to vaccinate. Efforts to encourage vaccination should concentrate on strengthening mothers' attitudes about the value of talking about sex and highlight referent persons who support communication about sex.