Cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HPV vaccination: exploring gendered perspectives, knowledge, attitudes, and cultural taboos among Mexican American adults

Daisy Y. Morales-Campos, S. A. Snipes, E. K. Villarreal, L. C. Crocker, A. Guerrero, M. E. Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gendered perspectives may be particularly important in shaping norms and values around HPV and HPV vaccination, as previous research suggests that sexuality taboos (e.g. promiscuity) may contribute to low perceived risk among adolescent and young adult Hispanic females. However, research to date focuses primarily on Hispanic mothers, adolescent females, and women of HPV vaccine-eligible age. Hispanic father’s perspectives are relatively unknown despite father’s important role in shaping norms for their female children. To close this gap, this study examines gendered perspectives in knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about HPV and HPV vaccination from Hispanic parents (mothers and fathers), women of vaccine-eligible age (18–26 years old), and women eligible for Pap Test screening (>26 years old) living in two counties along the Texas-Mexico border. We conducted eight focus groups. Research staff transcribed audio recordings verbatim and uploaded them into Atlas(ti) 5.0 for analysis. The research team analyzed the data for content, meaning, patterns and themes using the constant comparison approach. Perspectives were highly gendered. Women’s (all groups combined) beliefs focused on misconceptions around how the HPV virus is contracted (e.g. toilet surfaces). Women also linked HPV-related sexual risk to adultery and indiscretion of male partners. Fathers (men) were more likely to link risk to female promiscuity. Fathers also worried that HPV vaccination might increase promiscuity. All groups believe that HPV vaccination is a way to protect Hispanic females in the face of beliefs around sexual behavior and risk of contracting HPV. Results suggest gendered differences in risk beliefs concerning HPV among Hispanics living along the Texas-Mexico border. Researchers can use these findings to address barriers to HPV vaccination, as well as to create culturally appropriate prevention messages that may help reduce disparities in HPV among Hispanic women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-224
Number of pages19
JournalEthnicity and Health
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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