Intent to participate in future cervical cancer screenings is lower when satisfaction with the decision to be vaccinated is neutral

Natalie Marya Alexander, Diane Medved Harper, Johanna Claire Comes, Melissa Smith Smith, Melinda Ann Heutinck, Sandra Martin Handley, Debra Ann Ahern
PloS One 2014, 9 (6): e98665

BACKGROUND: HPV vaccination programs have adversely affected participation in future cervical cancer screening. The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of decision satisfaction with accepting/rejecting the HPV vaccine, as well as traditional clinical factors, on the intent to participate in future screening.

METHODS AND FINDINGS: From January 2011 through August 2012 women 18-26 years old presenting for health care in an urban college student health and wellness clinic in the US Midwest were asked to complete a descriptive and medical history survey including a six element decisional satisfaction survey scored on 5-point Likert scales, where the intent to participate in future cervical cancer screening was measured. Of the 568 women who completed the decisional satisfaction survey, 17% of those <21 years and 7% ≥ 21 years indicated no intent to participate in future cervical cancer screenings. Among women of current screening age, the univariate risk factors of race/ethnicity, contraceptive use, number of lifetime sexual partners, and receipt of HPV vaccine were not predictors of intent for future cervical cancer screening. Instead, only a history of a prior Pap test was a significant positive predictor and only a decisional satisfaction of 'neutral' (Likert score = 3) for any of the four decisional satisfaction elements was a significant negative predictor. For the decisional satisfaction element "best for me personally", there was a 78% decreased likelihood of intending to participate in future screening if the satisfaction was neutral rather than firm (aOR = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.05-0.91) and a 26 fold increased likelihood if she had had a prior Pap test (aOR = 26, 95% CI: 5-133).

CONCLUSIONS: HPV vaccination implementation programs must help women be the owner of their decision around HPV vaccination and understand the importance of future participation in cervical cancer screening.

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