Friday, 15 February 2013

Mothers' influence girls HPV jab uptake

News from the BPS:

Uptake of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination among girls is impacted by the attitudes their mothers have to cervical cancer screening. This is according to new findings from the University of Manchester, which showed teenagers are around three times more likely to have the jab if their mum recently received the test, BBC News reports.

Published in the European Journal of Cancer, the study looked at data from 117,000 young females and also suggested an abnormal result for the mother increases the likelihood that a girl will undergo the vaccination.

Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, explained the HPV jab represents one of the most effective ways to reduce cervical cancer risk.

"This study adds to our knowledge about the factors that affect vaccination behaviour, including the influence of family and friends," she stated, adding all women need to understand the importance of the HPV vaccination and cervical screening, as these have the ability to save lives. 

According to Chartered Psychologist Professor van den Akker, a reproductive health expert from Middlesex University in London “This Mother-Daughter health behaviour link has been demonstrated in previous quantitative (Deleeck, 2011) research in Belgium, qualitative research (Waller et al, 2006) in the UK and clinical practice (Jhpiego, 2012) in Thailand and the Philippines”. 

She said that “The reasons for the relationship are likely to be the promotion of health behaviours in some families, as opposed to others, and reasons why in some families such health behaviours are not promoted is because of a lack of understanding of the risks. Instead, families where the information is not available and a full understanding of the risks is absent, tend to relate HPV testing with fears of increasing promiscuity in their daughters, hence focusing on the potential negative consequences of vaccinations, rather than the certain protective consequences”.

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