Human papillomavirus risk perceptions and relationship status: a barrier to HPV vaccination?

Erika L. Thompson, Cheryl A. Vamos, Rumour Piepenbrink, Mika Kadono, Coralia Vázquez-Otero, Sarah Matthes, Ellen M. Daley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to assess the association between relationship status and perceived risk for human papillomavirus (HPV) among young adults. College adults, aged 18–26 years, completed an online survey from November 2016–April 2017 (n = 385). The survey assessed HPV vaccination status, perceived HPV risk, and current relationship status. Logistic regression models estimated the odds of perceived high risk for HPV, stratified by vaccination status. Among unvaccinated women, relationship status and HPV risk perception were significantly associated, with dating women more likely (OR = 5.33, 95%CI 1.16–24.50) to perceive a high risk for HPV compared to women in a committed relationship. Women in relationships were less likely to perceive themselves at high risk for HPV, even though HPV infection is prevalent among young adults. This association is not present for vaccinated women, suggesting that relationship status and risk perceptions may represent barriers to HPV vaccine uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-997
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Prevention
  • Risk perceptions
  • Vaccination
  • Young adults


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