Exploring Chinese College Students’ HPV Awareness, Knowledge, Attitudes, and Intent of HPV Vaccination: a Qualitative Study

Angela Chia Chen Chen, Calli Astroth, Elizabeth Reifsnider, Hui Yang, Wenlan Mao, Hong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the world’s most prevalent sexually transmitted infection and causes cancers. In China, about 47,739 deaths occur annually from HPV-related cervical cancer, and this number continues to increase. HPV vaccines have shown promising results in preventing HPV-associated cancers; however, the vaccination rate in Chinese college students remains extremely low. This qualitative research explored Chinese college students’ HPV-related awareness, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, and their vaccination intention as well as the strategies promoting vaccination in China. We conducted four focus groups with 18 male and 20 female students; prompts were developed based on the health belief model (HBM). Discussions were audiotaped, transcribed, and translated from Chinese to English by three bilingual researchers. Content analysis of the data revealed eight themes addressing HBM. Participants demonstrated high awareness (71% had heard of HPV) with limited knowledge. They perceived very low risks of being infected but expressed high vaccination intention if the cost was covered by the government. Participants identified reasons that facilitate and prevent vaccination and proposed culturally and developmentally congruent strategies to promote vaccination in China. It is essential to address facilitators and barriers at individual, societal, political, and cultural levels to promote HPV vaccination in Chinese college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1218
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • China
  • College student
  • HPV
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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