Health Policy

Factors Related to Physicians' Willingness to Vaccinate Girls Against HPV: The Importance of Subjective Norms and Perceived Behavioral Control

Askelson, N.M.; Campo, S.; Lowe, J.B.; Dennis, L.K.; Smith, S.; Andsager, J.
2010 Mar

Abstract

This study assessed factors related to physicians' intentions to vaccinate patients against human papillomavirus. A random sample of physicians was surveyed. The survey questions focused on the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate the relationship of theoretical constructs to intention to vaccinate. Of the 207 physicians who responded, intentions to vaccinate were very high (86.5 percent). On a scale of 1 to 7 (strongly disagree to strongly agree) physicians had positive attitudes toward the vaccine. Physicians reported the vaccine was a good idea (M = 6.65, SD = 0.79), beneficial (M = 6.64, SD = 0.76), and protected against cervical cancer (M = 6.63, SD = 0.77). Intention to vaccinate was driven by subjective norms (provided by guidelines or standards of practice by important professional and general referent groups) (beta = 1.00, p < 0.05) and perceived behavioral control (beta = 0.39, p < 0.05). These findings indicate that public health efforts to encourage physicians to adopt the human papillomavirus vaccine should focus on subjective norms, such as those provided by professional organizations.