Item Details

Disconnects between news framing and parental discourse concerning the state-mandated HPV vaccine: Implications for dialogic health communication and health literacy

Issue: Vol 7 No. 1 (2010)

Journal: Communication & Medicine

Subject Areas: Healthcare Communication Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/cam.v7i1.75


In 2007, Virginia became the first state to mandate the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, requiring that parents of girls entering 6th grade in 2009 decide to either vaccinate their daughters or sign the ‘opt-out’ waiver. This investigation is the first to explore how both the news media and parents framed and responded to the newly-mandated HPV vaccine. This research reveals disjoints between newspaper reports and information needed by families, leaving parents feeling skeptical about, frustrated with, and intolerant of the state directive. This study discusses the implications of these gaps for parental healthcare decision-making and provides suggestions for constructing a more dialogic, community-based approach that can increase health literacy regarding the HPV vaccine.

Author: Burton St. John, Margaret Pitts, Kimberly Adams Tufts

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