Knowledge, perceptions, and decision making about human papillomavirus vaccination among korean american women: A focus group study

Kyounghae Kim, Boyoung Kim, Eunsuk Choi, Youngshin Song, Hae Ra Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: As one of the fastest growing ethnic minority groups in the United States, Korean American (KA) women experience a heightened cervical cancer burden. The advent of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine offers an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate cervical cancer disparities in KA women. However, the uptake of HPV vaccine among KA adolescents remains suboptimal. Hence, we set out to explore knowledge, perceptions, and decision making about HPV vaccination among KA women. Methods: We conducted four focus groups of 26KA women who participated in a community-based, randomized, controlled trial to promote breast and cervical cancer screening. Focus group data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results: Four main themes emerged from the focus groups: 1) limited awareness and knowledge of HPV vaccine, 2) perceptions and beliefs about HPV vaccination (acceptance, negative perceptions, ambivalence), 3) patterns of decision making about HPV vaccination (hierarchical, peer influenced, autonomous, and collaborative), and 4) promoting HPV education and information sharing in the Korean community. Conclusion: KA women are generally positive toward HPV vaccination, but lack awareness and knowledge about HPV. Culturally tailored HPV education programs based on KA women's decision-making patterns and effective information sharing by trustworthy sources in comfortable environments are suggested strategies to promote HPV vaccination in the KA community. The findings point to the need for a multilevel approach to addressing linguistic, cultural, and system barriers that the recent immigrant community faces in promoting HPV vaccinations. In the development of targeted interventions for KA women, educational strategies and patterns of decision making need to be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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