Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Increasing girls’ knowledge about human papillomavirus vaccination with a pre-test and a national leaflet: a quasi-experimental study

Robine Hofman1*, Puck AWH Schiffers2, Jan Hendrik Richardus13, Hein Raat1, Inge MCM de Kok1, Marjolein van Ballegooijen1 and Ida J Korfage1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC - University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

2 Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

3 Municipal Public Health Service Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:611  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-611

Published: 26 June 2013

Abstract

Background

Adolescent girls are at an age to be involved in the decision about HPV vaccination uptake and therefore need adequate information about the vaccination. This study assesses to what extent reading an official information leaflet about HPV contributes to girls’ knowledge levels, and to what extent an increase in knowledge is boosted by a pre-test measurement.

Methods

Participants (girls aged 11–14 years) were systematically allocated to group A that completed a pre-test measurement (12 true/false statements) or to group B that did not complete it. Subsequently, both groups read the HPV leaflet and completed the post-test measurement.

Results

The response rate was 237/287 (83%). Pre-test scores in group A (M = 3.6, SD = 1.81, p < 0.001) were lower than post-test mean knowledge scores (0–10) in group B (M = 4.6, SD = 2.05). Post-test knowledge scores in group A were higher than those in group B [6.2 (SD = 2.06) versus 4.6 (SD = 2.05), p < 0.001]. In the post-test measurement, about a third of both groups knew that vaccinations do not give 100% protection against cervical cancer and that the duration of protection is unknown.

Conclusions

Reading the information leaflet had a positive effect on knowledge, even more so when boosted by a pre-test measurement. However, knowledge on the degree and duration of protection against cervical cancer remained limited. Focusing girls’ attention on important aspects before they start reading the leaflet (e.g. by including a quiz on the first page) may serve to raise their awareness of these aspects.

Keywords:
Human papillomavirus; Vaccination; Adolescents; Knowledge; Education