College Women's Sexual Knowledge, Beliefs and Behaviors Related to the Prevention of Human Papilloma Virus

Article excerpt

Human papilloma virus (HPV) has been causally related to cervical cancer cases worldwide. In the United States, HPV cases have become epidemic among college women ages 15 to 29 years. Although there has been a preponderance of sexual health information, rates of HPV and other sexually transmitted infections still increase. The purpose of this study was to assess college-age women's knowledge of HPV and practice of protective sexual behaviors. Design: This study surveyed 306 college-aged females, ages 18 through 32 years, from a Midwestern university. A 52-item instrument was developed to assess knowledge, perceived severity, perceived susceptibility, and protective sexual behaviors regarding HPV and cervical cancer. Stability reliability for the questionnaire was established via a convenience sample of university students (N = 10) and yielded the following Pearson correlation coefficients: knowledge = .90, perceived susceptibility and severity = .95, and preventive sexual behaviors = .90. Internal consistency reliability was also established a priori, yielding a Chronbach alpha > .85. Procedures: Following approval from the Institutional Review Board, surveys were distributed to students in physical activity, health, and education courses during regularly scheduled class times. Students were informed of the study purpose, voluntary nature of the study, and assured that all responses would be kept anonymous and confidential. …