Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Cancer Prevention

Major Advisor

Dean Cruess, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Amy Gorin, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Jayesh Kamath, M.D., Ph.D.

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Cervical cancer is a virally mediated disease with the majority of cases due to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infections are the most prominent sexually transmitted diseases among college-aged women. Although HPV vaccines such as Gardasil afford women with a valuable method of cancer prevention, vaccination rates are often incomplete or inadequate. This study evaluated the effectiveness of an interactive, information-motivation-behavioral skills (IMB) based, multimodal program to promote Gardasil use among 62 undergraduate women enrolled at the University of Connecticut. Secondary aims targeted additional health behaviors, including risky sexual practices and Pap Screen utilization. Participants were randomly assigned to a single-session, active intervention group or an attention control group and were assessed pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at a 1-month follow-up. At baseline, a majority of participants demonstrated high levels of vaccine knowledge, low mastery of HPV/cervical cancer information, and ambivalence about pursuing vaccination. Following the intervention, the IMB group demonstrated increased levels of HPV/cervical cancer and Gardasil knowledge, higher levels of self-reported motivation and intention to get vaccinated, and more positive attitudes toward vaccination. In addition, women in the IMB group demonstrated greater intentions to engage in regular screening in accordance with screening guidelines. These results provide partial support for an IMB-based intervention in helping elucidate factors that impact young women’s decision to get vaccinated and engage in cancer prevention. Findings may help guide the development of a cost-effective, cancer preventive program that can be easily disseminated and implemented in university clinics and health centers.