Parental beliefs and knowledge about male human papillomavirus vaccination in the US: A survey of a pediatric clinic population

Meridith Griebeler, Helayne Feferman, Vibha Gupta, Dilip Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to examine US parental knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) in males, views on vaccination, and correlation to vaccination rates. The survey was conducted of clinic population about parental knowledge and beliefs of male HPV health outcomes and vaccination. There were a total of 102 participants who completed the survey. Perceived parental knowledge about the virus was reported as “a lot” by 11%, “some” by 50%, and “very little/nothing” by 38% of the participants. However, knowledge of HPV was moderate, with only 14% of the respondents answering all knowledge questions correctly; 64% of the respondents correctly identified HPV as a cause of genital warts in males, 43% identified at least one HPV-related cancer, and 30% were unable to identify any health outcomes in males. There was a statistically significant correlation between perceived and actual knowledge, with >15% of the survey respondents correctly identifying that HPV does not clear up on its own (p = 0.004). Of the participants who did not vaccinate, reasons included the following: 54% fulfilled the child's wish not to be vaccinated, 38% reported belief vaccine is unsafe, and 38% indicated that their children are too young and/or expressed fear that the vaccine would negatively affect behavior. This study supports the fact that parental beliefs and attitudes are more important than actual knowledge about HPV or HPV vaccination. The implication to physicians is to tailor discussions to address fears about the dangers or complications, emphasize the safety of the vaccine, and address sources of misinformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • anal cancer
  • genital warts
  • human papillomavirus
  • penile cancer
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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