Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 314–317 | Cite as

Exploring the Role of Ethnic Identity on the Attitudes Towards HPV Vaccine Advertising Among Puerto Ricans: A Qualitative Analysis

  • William A. Calo
  • Maria E. Fernández
  • Natalie Fernández-Espada
  • Vivian Colón-López
Brief Communication


Despite the existence of guidelines recommending vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) and widespread availability of the vaccine through the Vaccines for Children program, HPV vaccination rates among island Puerto Ricans are suboptimal. Advertising plays a central role in promoting HPV vaccination by increasing awareness of and knowledge about the vaccine; however, little is known about the influence of cultural factors on the impact of HPV messages delivered through the media. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the role of ethnic identity on the attitudes towards HPV vaccine advertising among island Puerto Ricans. Five focus groups (n = 23) were conducted with parents and non-vaccinated females. Our analysis found several themes that may influence attitudes towards HPV vaccine advertising among this population: physical ethnic similarity, relevance of information, and sociocultural congruence. Findings may assist in developing culturally appropriate health promotion programs and media to promote HPV vaccination among Puerto Ricans.


Puerto Ricans Human papillomavirus vaccine Ethnicity Health communication Advertising Qualitative research 



This study was conducted with funding from the National Cancer Institute U54CA96297. WAC was supported by the Cancer Education and Career Development Program at The University of Texas School of Public Health (2R25CA057712). The authors want to thank Sarah E. Krasny for her valuable comments on this article and Angela Pattatucci, Camille Velez, Mirza Rivera, and Elba C. Diaz for their support conducting the focus groups.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • William A. Calo
    • 1
  • Maria E. Fernández
    • 2
  • Natalie Fernández-Espada
    • 2
  • Vivian Colón-López
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Management, Policy and Community HealthUniversity of Texas School of Public HealthHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Health Promotion and Prevention ResearchUniversity of Texas School of Public HealthHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research, Graduate School of Public HealthUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA
  4. 4.Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA

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