Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

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

Date of Graduation

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Health Sciences


Laura Merrell

Erika Thompson

Erika Collazo-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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