Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Jessica Polzer

Second Advisor

Dr. Anita Kothari


This thesis examines young women’s decision-making regarding Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Using a narrative approach, five young women were asked to share their stories of how they came to be or not be vaccinated. Two in-depth interviews were used to elicit participants’ stories, and an overall narrative for each young woman was constructed. The five individual narratives reveal a number of themes that capture the diversity of young women’s decision-making experiences and point to the complex ways in which young women are negotiating decisions regarding vaccination. Within this thesis, I take a critical stance on the topic of HPV vaccine decision-making in order to illuminate how young women’s decisions are embedded within broader social and discursive contexts. This critical approach to understanding participant narratives was informed by a strong sensitivity to conceptual frames of medicalization, healthism, and neo-medicalization and dominant discourses related to health risk and individual responsibility.



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