PURPOSE: Uptake and completion of the 3-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is important for the primary prevention of cervical cancer. However, HPV vaccination rates among adolescent females and young women remain low in certain geographic areas of the United States, including Appalachia. Although greater fatalistic beliefs have been previously associated with lower rates of preventive cancer behaviors among adults, little research exists on the impact of fatalism on HPV vaccination behaviors, especially among younger individuals. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the association between fatalistic beliefs and completion of the full HPV vaccine series among young women, ages 18-26, in Appalachian Kentucky.

RESULTS: Data from this study were from a baseline survey completed by 344 women randomized into a communication intervention trial focused on increasing adherence to the 3-dose HPV vaccine series. Principal components analysis was used to construct 2 fatalism-related subscales from 8 survey questions.

FINDINGS: In a controlled analysis, 1 subscale--"lack of control over cancer"--was significantly associated with not completing the full HPV vaccine series. In a rural area that experiences higher rates of cervical cancer, poverty, limited access to health care, and negative cancer-related attitudes and experiences, fatalism may be common, even among young people.

CONCLUSION: Future educational and interventional research addressing fatalistic beliefs in a culturally sensitive manner may be warranted to improve HPV vaccination behaviors and impact cancer disparities among Appalachian women.

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Publication Date

Spring 2015

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Published in The Journal of Rural Health, v. 31, issue 2, p. 199-205.

© 2015 National Rural Health Association

Per journal publisher: "This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Vanderpool, R. C., Dressler, E. V. M., Stradtman, L. R. and Crosby, R. A. (2015), Fatalistic Beliefs and Completion of the HPV Vaccination Series Among a Sample of Young Appalachian Kentucky Women. The Journal of Rural Health, 31: 199–205. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12102, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jrh.12102. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving."

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