Preventive medicine

Extending and validating a human papillomavirus (HPV) knowledge measure in a national sample of Canadian parents of boys.

PMID 27471023


As the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is now recommended for males, a reliable, comprehensive HPV knowledge measurement tool which addresses issues relevant to males is needed. We aimed to replicate, validate and test the comprehensiveness of an existing general HPV and an HPV vaccination knowledge scale in English and French. We also measured parental HPV knowledge and changes over time. An online questionnaire was administered in February (Time 1; T1) and November 2014 (Time 2; T2) to a nationally representative sample of Canadian parents of boys. Dimensionality, internal consistency and model fit were evaluated at both time points and separately in English and French sub-samples. Differences in knowledge scores were measured. Analyses were performed on 3117 participants at T1 and 1427 at T2. The 25-item HPV general knowledge and an 11-item HPV vaccination scale were unidimensional, showed high internal consistency (α>0.87, α>0.73) and had good model fit. Both general HPV and vaccine-specific knowledge significantly increased over time in both languages, but remained low at T2, with only about half of the items being answered correctly. Correct responses at T2 are best explained by correct responses at T1, with some small changes from 'Don't know' at T1 to correct at T2. The extended general and vaccine-specific knowledge scales are valid, reliable and comprehensive, and could be used among parents of boys, in both English and French. Educational interventions could target specific knowledge gaps and focus on providing information rather than correcting misconceptions.