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Keywords:

  • message framing;
  • papillomavirus vaccines;
  • parents

Abstract

Objective

Framing a message in terms of the benefits of engaging in the behavior (gain frame), the costs of failing to engage in the behavior (loss frame), or both the benefits and the costs (mixed frame) can impact parents' decisions about their childrens' and adolescents' health. This study, investigated the effect of framed messages on parents' intentions to have their children vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV).

Design and Sample

The study employed a 2 (gender of the parent) × 2 (gender of the child) × 3 (message frame) between-groups, quasi-experimental design. A convenience sample of 367 parents with children in Grade 5, 6, or 7 who had at least one child who had not been vaccinated against HPV.

Measures

Social-cognitive variables relating to intentions to vaccinate a child were assessed.

Intervention

Participants were randomly assigned to read one of three framed messages about the HPV vaccine (gain, loss, or mixed).

Results

Gain-framed messages seemed to persuade mothers of sons to speak to a doctor about the vaccine (p < .05). Framing effects were not significant for other outcomes.

Conclusions

Findings provide preliminary evidence that certain vaccination messages may be more effective for different parent-child dyads.