Social Networks for Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Advice Among African American Parents

Linda Y. Fu, Gregory D. Zimet, Carl A. Latkin, Jill G. Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Despite that human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination could prevent ∼90% of HPV-associated cancers, only 65.5% of American adolescents initiate vaccination. African Americans have the highest prevalence of morbidity and mortality from HPV-associated cancers. Mounting evidence suggests that advice from social contacts is associated with vaccine acceptance. The present study examines the associations of social processes with HPV vaccine refusal among African American parents. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among African American parents of children aged 10–12 years before a health-care visit at which HPV vaccine was offered by the health-care provider. Data from the 353 parents who named at least one social contact who advised them about vaccines were included in these analyses. Results: Only 54.4% of the participants consented to HPV vaccination for their children. On average, parents had 2 to 3 social contacts who provided vaccine advice. Vaccine advice networks were generally dense, family-centric, and homophilous. Slightly over 80% of all parents trusted family members and friends for vaccine advice “some” or “a lot.” Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and reason for the health-care visit, perceived high exposure to anti-HPV vaccine viewpoints and low exposure to pro-HPV vaccine viewpoints were both associated with HPV vaccine refusal (adjusted odds ratio = 1.5, 95% confidence interval = 1.01, 2.3, and adjusted odds ratio = 1.7, 95% confidence interval = 1.2, 2.6, respectively). Conclusions: Social processes may be associated with HPV vaccine refusal among African American parents. Interventions designed to educate African American parents about HPV vaccine to increase uptake should consider leveraging vaccine advice networks for greater impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent health
  • African Americans
  • Attitudes
  • Health knowledge
  • Human papillomavirus vaccines
  • Practice
  • Social conformity
  • Social values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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