The human papillomavirus and cancer: a multiphase study investigating preventative behaviours in young males

Thumbnail Image
Fitzgerald, Serena M.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Background: The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the world’s most common sexually transmitted infections, and a causative factor of oropharyngeal, anal and penile cancers in males. Worldwide, an estimated 39,000 HPV-associated cancers occur each year in men. The highest rates of HPV infection are found in adults aged 18 to 28 years. Clinical evidence indicates that use of a condom in addition to obtaining the HPV vaccine provides the greatest protection from HPV infections. Aim: To explore young men’s attitudes, beliefs, and behavioural intention in relation to receiving the HPV vaccine and using a condom correctly and consistently. Collectively, both behaviours are linked to the prevention of HPV transmission and associated infections with HPV. Method: A multi- phase study, underpinned by the Theory of Planned Behaviour, involving a qualitative belief elicitation, pilot, and quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted. A belief elicitation (n=12) phase was used to generate items to include in a newly developed research instrument. Post pilot the research instrument was utilised in a cross sectional online survey to explore the attitudes, beliefs, and behavioural intention of young men (n= 359) with regard to receiving the HPV vaccine, and using a condom correctly and consistently. Data Collection: Data collection took place over a three month time frame. Male participants were recruited from a university in Southern Ireland via a student email system, as well as posting advertisements on numerous health, social and sports websites. Sample: Three hundred and fifty nine male participants aged 18- 28 years completed the online questionnaire. Data Analysis: Data were analysed using SPSS. Descriptive, correlational, multiple and hierarchical regression analysis were performed on the indirect and direct variables of the Theory of Planned Behaviour i.e. attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, and intention. Status variables were also included in descriptive analysis and hierarchical regressions. Findings are presented through text and graphical representation. Results: Alarming sexual health statistics identified that only 44.3% of participants always used a condom, and 78.6% never used a condom for oral sex. Furthermore, findings reveal that the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behaviour adequately measure male’s attitudes, beliefs and behavioural intention with regard to both behaviours. The Theory of Planned Behaviour has assisted in identifying how social pressures play an influential role in relation to males receiving the HPV vaccine. Attitudes presented as the most significant predictor of male’s intentions to use a condom correctly and consistently. Intention to perform both behaviours was identified as moderate to high. Conclusion: This study has contributed to the field of HPV research, as it is the first piece of research to explore preventative HPV behaviours i.e. receiving the HPV vaccine, and condom use, amongst young males, utilising the Theory of Planned Behaviour. A deeper understanding of young male’s attitudes, beliefs, and behavioural intention on this topic has been achieved. Additionally, a new robust research instrument has been constructed. Findings from this study will undoubtedly help in the implementation of the HPV vaccine in Ireland, as well as influence health promotion campaigns aimed at young males, addressing the topic of condom use.
Cancer prevention , Condom use , Sexual health , Human papillomavirus , HPV vaccine
FitzGerald, S. M. 2015. The human papillomavirus and cancer: a multiphase study investigating preventative behaviours in young males. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
Link to publisher’s version