This study evaluated the knowledge and attitudes of Italian mothers - whose daughters had been vaccinated in 2012 - towards primary (anti-HPV vaccination) and secondary (Pap test screening) cervical cancer prevention, as well as sources of information and mother-daughter communication on health issues.
The survey - part of a multicenter study carried out in 4 Italian cities (Ferrara, Rome, Cassino and Palermo) - was conducted through self-administered questionnaires. The first univariate analysis evaluated differences between mothers of under-18s and over-18s relative to knowledge and attitudes on HPV vaccination and Pap test. The second univariate analysis evaluated differences between the 2 groups of mothers and possible geographical variations regarding the sources of information on HPV and Pap test.
The sample proved knowledgeable about the correlation between HPV and cervical cancer (>85%) but less aware of other HPV-related diseases. HPV vaccination should be administered before first sexual intercourse according to mothers of over-18s, and to 14- to 17-year-olds according to mothers of under-18s. Up to 88% of mothers of under-18s and 80% of mothers of over-18s declared that the vaccine should be given free of charge. More mothers of under-18s consulted a general practitioner (GP) or gynecologist before deciding to vaccinate their daughters. Mothers of under-18s received information on HPV vaccination mainly from GPs and gynecologists, while mothers of over-18s were informed through TV and books/journals. Over 80% of the sample declared satisfaction with the information received from their gynecologist during the Pap test.
The findings provide useful information for the development of effective public health interventions that may help improve acceptance of HPV vaccination among mothers