Message Framing and Parents' Intentions to have their Children Vaccinated Against HPV


Corresponding to:

Amy E. Latimer-Cheung, School of Kinesiology & Health Studies, Queen's University, 28 Division St., Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada




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.


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


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


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.


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