Abstract: Examining the Association Between Social Media Use and HPV Knowledge Using Health Information National Trends Survey (2017-2018)

◆ Yuki Lama, University of Maryland
◆ Sandra Quinn, University of Maryland

Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) can result in several types of cancers among men and women, with ethnic/racial minorities bearing disproportionate burden of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended HPV vaccination as a safe and effective method of protecting against HPV strains associated cancers, however, vaccination rates remain low. Research has pointed to the numerous, complex factors that contribute to HPV vaccine acceptance among parents and the potential influence of social media on HPV-related knowledge, which may inform vaccine uptake. Prior studies have examined how online health seeking behaviors contribute to HPV-knowledge disparities and the role of social media on impacting individuals’ awareness towards HPV. Fewer studies have investigated the intersectionality of race with other sociodemographic factors that contribute to disparities in HPV knowledge among parents and caregivers.

Objective: This study aims to (1) investigate the association between social media use and HPV-related knowledge specifically among a nationally representative sample of adults with children in the household and (2) explore differences within racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: Data were collected from the Health Information National Trends (HINTS) Survey (2017 and 2018), a cross-sectional, nationally representative survey of non-institutionalized adults in the U.S. Analytic sample comprised of adults with at least one child in the household <18 years (N= 1,549). Multivariate logistic regressions were used to examine the effect of social media use related to health information on HPV awareness and knowledge outcomes. Analyses were further stratified to examine whether associations varied by race/ethnicity.

Results: Of the adults with children in the household, 74.32% were aware of HPV and 72.23% were aware of HPV vaccines. Respondents had higher level of cervical cancer knowledge (82.26%) compared to anal, penile, and oral cancers (32.76%, 28.05%, 29.95%, respectively). A majority of respondents had visited a social networking site (SNS) such as Facebook or Twitter (74.42%), while 21.68% of adults shared health information on SNS, 9.97% had participated in a health-related online forum or support group, and 37.87% had watched a health-related video on YouTube. Weighted, adjusted, multivariate logistic models revealed that respondents who engaged in two social media behaviors had greater odds of HPV awareness (aOR: 2.67; 95%CI: 1.03–6.92), after adjusting for covariates. Those who engaged in two (aOR: 3.13; 95%CI: 1.28–7.62) or three social media behaviors (aOR: 3.93; 95%CI:1.57–9.84), had greater odds of HPV vaccine awareness. Higher social media use increased cervical and penile cancer knowledge, but the association was attenuated in the adjusted model. No significant association was found between race/ethnicity and HPV-related outcomes.

Conclusions: Social media use is associated with knowledge of HPV and HPV vaccine for adults with children in the household. Social media-based efforts can be utilized to increase knowledge of the benefits of HPV vaccination as cancer prevention, which may be a precursor to reducing HPV vaccine hesitancy and encouraging uptake to ultimately decrease cancer incidence rates among vulnerable populations.