Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Andrea Paiva


Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S and can lead to several types of cancers. A better understanding of the variables impacting HPV vaccination will help inform the development of effective disease prevention interventions. This study aims to describe factors that impact parents’ and caregivers’ decisions to vaccinate their children against HPV by examining sociocultural factors and behavioral change theory among parents or caretakers of sons and daughters (ages 9-18) from diverse socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. A national sample was recruited and participants completed demographic questions and measures related to their attitudes and beliefs about the vaccine and measures based on the transtheoretical model. These variables were used to predict child vaccine initiation and to validate existing measures using a novel sample. Health care provider recommendation, perceived vaccine effectiveness, pros for vaccination, and self-efficacy increased the likelihood that children had initiated the HPV vaccine. While no significant differences were found for race/ethnicity and gender on vaccine initiation, some disparities were noted. There were regional differences in perceived cons for vaccination, socioeconomic differences in self-efficacy and perceived effectiveness, and gender differences in health care provider recommendation and parent perception of cons, vaccine harm, and barriers. These findings may inform future, tailored interventions aimed at increasing HPV vaccine initiation among children and adolescents.



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