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Brendan Spealman

Spealman, Brendan. (2008, May). Fear persuasion and STD vaccine acceptance : A focus on the Human Papillomavirus vaccine.
Mentor: James Billings/p>

Abstract

The current study investigated whether a fear appeal could influence an individual’s intentions to get the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Participants (N = 135) were randomly selected to receive either Pro-vaccination or Anti-vaccination information on HPV and the HPV vaccine. The Pro-vaccination information included examples of a few of the severe symptoms of HPV and on the high efficacy of the vaccine. The Anti-vaccination information presented samples of the negative aspects of HPV and the HPV vaccine including side effects and its high cost. All of the information was derived from publicly available sources and peer reviewed empirical studies. Results indicated that female participants in the Pro-vaccination condition who had not yet received the HPV vaccine (n = 60) had a significantly higher intention to get the vaccine in the next year as compared to the Anti-vaccination condition t (1, 58) = 2.073, p = .022. Additionally, participants were equally aroused in each condition indicating that the Pro and Anti conditions had an equal emotional impact. The results of this study indicate that a fear appeal can be used to persuade individuals in their decision to get the HPV vaccine. Thus, caution must be advised for individuals when using publicly available information in their decision to obtain the HPV vaccine.


Read the paper (download the pdf)