Young womens beleifs regarding human papillomavirus - Research Paper Example

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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2004). This research aims to report how young women perceive HPV including HPV causing cancer and whether their…
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Young Women’s Beliefs Regarding Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Research Summary of the of the of the research Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2004). This research aims to report how young women perceive HPV including HPV causing cancer and whether their perceptions differ based on a history of sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing or HPV diagnosis.
Methods used
The Common Sense Model, which states that people have beliefs about illnesses, termed as “representations” (Leventhal, Brissett, & Leventhal, 2003), lends the theoretical framework for the study. The descriptive research utilized a cross-sectional, survey design and included participants from four women’s health clinics and one university classroom. Three hundred and two women between ages 18–24 who could read and write English participated in two surveys. A health and demographic information questionnaire to collect the age, ethnicity, history of STD testing and/or HPV diagnosis, education level, race and relationship status details and a second questionnaire based on Representations of STDs (RoSTD) to survey the women’s beliefs of HPV were issued. The participants also completed a single item evaluating beliefs about the association between HPV and cancer.
This research has four major limitations. First, the study employed a cross-sectional research design, limiting the ability to find out causation. Second, the study used self-report data where participants might have biased their responses to establish social desirableness. Third, one half of the participants pointed they were seriously involved in a romantic relationship, a factor that is highly subjective and lacks the ability to directly measure sexual risk behavior. Fourth, the participants were highly literate, largely White, and limited to certain geographic locations, minimizing the ability to generalize findings to other ethnic, racial, geographical, and educational groups.
Findings/ Conclusions
The findings of the study indicate that young women tend to misconceive the cause, symptoms, and chronic nature of HPV and also have negative impressions about the impact HPV diagnosis has on intimate relationships and mental health. Women who had never received STD testing or not diagnosed with HPV have more accurate and less severe representations about HPV when compared with young women with a record of STD testing or HPV diagnosis.
Recommendations for future study
Assessing women’s impressions about HPV enables the development of treatment methods centered on patient needs and also enhances HPV management in individuals diagnosed with the condition. Hence a future research to repeat this study across different populations, specifically among women with high prevalence rates of HPV is recommended.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2004, November 24). Fact sheet: Genital HPV. Atlanta, GA: Author. Retrieved from
Leventhal, H., Brissett, I., & Leventhal, E.A. (2003). The common-sense model of self- regulation of health and illness. In L. D. Cameron & H. Leventhal (Eds.), The self- regulation of health and illness behavior (pp. 42-65). London, UK: Routledge.
Royer, Heather R., & Falk, Elizabeth C. (2011, December 12). Young Women’s Beliefs Regarding Human Papillomavirus. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 41, 92-101. doi : 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2011.01309.x Read More
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