Creditable Health Information? An Analysis of Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Messages on YouTube
Asian Journal of Pediatric Research,
Aims: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection globally. Vaccination is effective in preventing HPV-associated cancers and is recommended for children at ages 11-12; however, the vaccination rate is suboptimal. Credible information about HPV vaccine in social media will help the public make effective healthcare decisions. This study analyzed YouTube videos about HPV vaccine.
Study Design: Descriptive study.
Place and Duration of Study: Videos in English posted on YouTube during 2006-2020.
Methodology: We used purposive sampling to select and conduct a quantitative content analysis of 151 YouTube videos that met the criteria. An instrument including video characteristics and theoretical constructs of the Health Belief Model was used to code the videos. Three researchers independently coded the data; another three verified the accuracy. The team discussed discrepancies until reaching a consensus. We conducted descriptive and inferential statistics.
Results: The major source of videos were medical centers/hospitals (26%), government (22%), media (20%), and consumers (15%). About 80% of the videos were positive in tone. Information covered included vaccine knowledge (85.4%), benefits (81.5%), severity if infected (79.5%), susceptibility (60.9%), and barriers (37.7%). The primary vaccination barriers were lack of knowledge of HPV and vaccine (12.6%), worries about adverse events/safety of vaccine (14.6%) and its side effects (9.3%). Videos in neutral tone had the highest number of views, likes and dislikes. Negative tone was mostly found in videos made by consumers and media while positive tone was found in videos made by governmental agencies and medical center/hospital.
Conclusion: Despite YouTube being a popular avenue to disseminate health information and influence care, the HPV-related information on YouTube is mixed. Anecdotal health information without scientific support can mislead individuals’ decision in vaccination. Educational videos with comprehensive and accurate HPV information addressing barriers are imperative to promote vaccination and prevent HPV-related cancers.
- Cancer prevention
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