Media coverage has emphasized human papillomavirus (HPV) as a vaccine-preventable, sexually transmitted virus causing cervical cancer. Appalachian undergraduate students (N = 309, 50% female) were surveyed on their knowledge of HPV; analyses of mental representations were similar to content analyses of media coverage of HPV, suggesting media cultivation. Semantic network analysis revealed linkages between vaccine, disease causation and prevention, women's centrality in the representations, and structural differences that varied between vaccinated women, unvaccinated women, and men. The findings provided insights into gaps in the public's understanding of HPV, potential stigmatization of those testing HPV+, and future challenges in vaccinating men.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology