Providers' perceptions of parental human papillomavirus vaccine hesitancy: Cross-sectional study

Jennifer Cunningham-Erves, Tatsuki Koyama, Yi Huang, Jessica Jones, Consuelo H. Wilkins, Lora Harnack, Caree McAfee, Pamela C. Hull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine hesitancy among parents contributes to low vaccination coverage in adolescents. To improve health care provider communication and vaccine recommendation practices with hesitant parents, it is important to understand how providers perceive parental HPV vaccine hesitancy. Objective: This study aimed to characterize perceived reasons for parental HPV vaccine hesitancy and identify factors associated with perceived parental hesitancy among providers at community-based pediatric clinics. Methods: In 2018, providers in 23 community-based pediatric clinics in Tennessee were invited to complete a Web-based baseline survey as part of a larger quality improvement study focused on HPV vaccine uptake. These survey data were used for a cross-sectional, secondary data analysis. Scale scores ranging from 0 to 100 were calculated for provider self-efficacy (confidence in ability to recommend HPV vaccine), provider outcome expectations (expectations that recommendation will influence parents' decisions), and perceived parental HPV vaccine hesitancy. Provider confidence in HPV vaccine safety and effectiveness were categorized as high versus low. Clinic-level exposures examined were clinic size and rural-urban location. Descriptive analyses were used to characterize perceived parental barriers by provider type. Mixed-effects linear regression models were fit taking one exposure variable at a time, whereas controlling for provider type, age, gender, and race to identify provider- and clinic-level factors associated with perceived parental barriers to HPV vaccination. Results: Of the 187 providers located in the 23 clinics, 137 completed the survey. The majority of physician providers were white and female, with a higher percentage of females among nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs). The most common parental barriers to HPV vaccination perceived by providers were concerns about HPV vaccine safety (88%), child being too young (78%), low risk of HPV infection for child through sexual activity (70%), and mistrust in vaccines (59%). In adjusted mixed models, perceived parental HPV vaccine hesitancy was significantly associated with several provider-level factors: Self-efficacy (P=.001), outcome expectations (P<.001), and confidence in HPV vaccine safety (P=.009). No significant associations were observed between perceived parental HPV vaccine hesitancy and clinic-level factors clinic size nor location. Conclusions: Researchers developing provider-focused interventions to reduce parental HPV vaccine hesitancy should consider addressing providers' self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and confidence in HPV vaccine safety to help providers communicate more effectively with HPV vaccine hesitant parents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13832
JournalJMIR Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 JMIR Publications Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Health care provider
  • Neoplasms
  • Papillomavirus infections
  • Papillomavirus vaccines
  • Primary prevention
  • Provider barriers to HPV vaccination
  • Vaccine hesitancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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