Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Health Sciences


Laura Merrell

Erika Thompson

Erika Callazo Vargas

Laura Merrell


Literature: HPV is the most prevalent STI in the United States. Although a vaccine to prevent HPV infection exists, only 49.5% of females were up-to-date on the recommended vaccination HPV vaccination series in 2016. Though recommended for younger individuals, there is a catch-up period for females ages 18-26, which shows consistent under-participation. One potential risk factor for non-vaccination may be relationship status. Unlike other sexual health issues where monogamous, long-term relationships serve as a protective factor, such relationships may negatively impact HPV infection risk perception. Building from previous qualitative research, this study examined the quantitative association between relationship status and HPV vaccination behavior.

Methodology: This exploratory cross-sectional study included an electronic survey among females 18-26 years old (N=629) who attend a large public university in the mid-Atlantic region. Bivariate and descriptive statistics were estimated using SPSS 24 to explore likelihood of vaccination during the catch-up age-range by relationship status.

Results: Of participants, most were Caucasian (82.5%), undergraduate students (92.8%), who had received the HPV vaccine (79.0%), of which 7.9% received the vaccine during the catch-up period. Being Single and Dating was associated with vaccination during the catch-up period compared to all other relationship groups (X2 (1) = 4.87, p < 0.05; OR = 0.49, 95% CI 0.25 – 0.93).

Discussion: Single and Dating status was found to be a protective factor for participating in catch-up vaccination, potentially due to increased risk perception. Limitations include unique characteristics of the student population which limited variability in married/monogamous relationship status. Future research should continue to examine relationship status as a barrier to participation in catch-up vaccination.



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