Partnering With Middle School Students to Design Text Messages About HPV Vaccination

Joan R. Cates, Rebecca R. Ortiz, Steve North, Amanda Martin, Richalle Smith, Tamera Coyne-Beasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is routinely recommended for U.S. adolescents ages 11 to 12 years, yet vaccine coverage remains low. Text message HPV immunization reminders to parents have been effective with increasing uptake, but text messages directly to adolescents in order to increase HPV vaccination uptake are unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the acceptability of text messages about HPV vaccination and message preferences among adolescents. Middle school students (n = 43) assisted in designing text messages to promote HPV vaccine among their peers. Through seven focus groups and two in-class surveys, we assessed students’ knowledge of HPV vaccine, use of texting, and preferences for text messages and sources. The average age of participants was 13 years, and all were White (17 males, 26 females) in this rural setting. More than 70% used text messaging with a cell phone. The text message with the best composite score (M = 2.33, SD = 0.72) for likeability, trustworthiness, and motivation to seek more information was a gain frame emphasizing reduction in HPV infection if vaccinated against HPV. Text messages with lower scores emphasized threats of disease if not vaccinated. Participants (68%) preferred doctors as their information source. Text messaging to adolescents may be a strategy to improve HPV knowledge and vaccination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-255
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 25 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescents
  • HPV vaccination
  • text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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