Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Stefanie Mollborn

Second Advisor

Jason Boardman

Third Advisor

Richard Rogers


The HPV vaccine is highly effective in providing protection against the human papillomavirus (HPV). Targeting young adolescents to initiate on-time vaccinations is crucial in curtailing HPV and HPV-related morbidity and mortality. To date, no study has examined the timing of initiating the HPV vaccine—never or late, relative to on-time vaccinations—or how differences in timing among populations may be due to gender and race/ethnicity intersecting to affect HPV vaccine uptake. To address this gap, this study used an intersectional and biopower-focused approach to examine how gender, race/ethnicity, and their intersections predict age-specific probabilities of initiating HPV vaccinations. Multinomial logistic regression—with on-time vaccination as the base outcome—was used to examine the timing of initiating HPV vaccinations. Data from the 2011-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was used to study this relationship. Results show that overall and within each status group, respondents have yet to initiate the HPV vaccine. Additionally, gender and the intersection of gender and sexuality were significant predictors of the timing of initiating the HPV vaccine, especially for females and Asian Americans. Policy makers and healthcare officials interested in increasing HPV vaccine uptake should provide culturally sensitive information to parents and young adolescence that balances advocating the overall benefits of the vaccine for both genders, while addressing sexuality in the context of HPV vaccinations, to emphasize the importance of uptake before the exposure of HPV.