DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Significant racial disparities exist in the incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer in the US, despite an overall decline in these rates for the population as a whole. In particular, African American women are significantly more likely to get and die from cervical cancer than non-Hispanic White women. African Americans, however, are also among the group that holds the least favorable attitudes toward the new human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine recommended for young women to prevent cervical cancer. There is a tremendous need for developing effective communication interventions about HPV vaccination targeting caretakers of vaccine-eligible young African American women. Previous research indicates that framing a health message in terms of the benefits that may be achieved by performing the recommended behavior versus the costs that may be incurred by not following the recommendation could systematically influence message efficacy. Despite extensive research on message framing, little is known about the effects of message framing on HPV vaccination acceptance among caretakers of vaccine-eligible young African American women and the extent to which these effects may be moderated by the caretakers' vaccine-related beliefs such as perceived vaccine safety and efficacy. To advance scientific knowledge on how message framing can be used to foster HPV vaccination acceptance in African American communities, we will conduct a community-based randomized trial with 150 caretakers of vaccine-eligible young African American women ages 9-17 to assess the relative efficacy of gain- vs. loss-framed messages. The proposed project will provide useful insights into the design of targeted messages to improve HPV vaccination acceptance among caretakers of vaccine-eligible young African American women. This study will also set the stage for a program of research aimed at developing theory-based communication interventions for promoting HPV vaccination in African American communities, with the ultimate goal of reducing and eliminating racial disparities in cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates.
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