A recent research has pointed out that mothers play a key role in convincing college-aged women to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, aimed to prevent the most common form of sexually transmitted infection.
The study found that young women were more likely to say they had received the HPV vaccine if they had talked to their mother about it.
"Mothers talking to their daughters were an important factor in whether young women were vaccinated," said Janice Krieger, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.
Many mothers and daughters may be uncomfortable talking about the HPV vaccine, because it is designed to prevent the spread of a sexually transmitted virus, Krieger said.
But regardless of the difficulty in talking about it, the vaccine is important because a persistent HPV infection may cause cancer.
The exploratory research involved 182 mother-daughter pairs. All of the daughters were college students, with an average age of 20.
The daughters mailed a questionnaire about the HPV vaccine to their mothers, and completed a similar questionnaire for themselves.
Overall, 137 of the mother-daughter pairs had talked about the HPV vaccine, and 45 pairs reporting not discussing the vaccine.
Results showed that the key for daughters getting the vaccine was having mothers who discussed the HPV vaccine with their daughter and who reported believing that the vaccine was safe and effective in preventing HPV-related diseases.
The study appeared in the January 2011 issue of the journal Human Communication Research.