Systematically developing a web-based tailored intervention promoting HPV-vaccination acceptability among mothers of invited girls using intervention mapping

Mirjam Pot*, Robert A. C. Ruiter, Theo W. G. M. Paulussen, Annerieke Heuvelink, Hester E. de Melker, Hans J. A. van Vliet, Hilde M. van Keulen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Currently, the eHealth field calls for detailed descriptions of theory-based interventions in order to support improved design of such interventions. This article aims to provide a systematic description of the design rationale behind an interactive web-based tailored intervention promoting HPV-vaccination acceptability.

Methods: The 6-step Intervention Mapping (IM) protocol was used to describe the design rationale. After the needs assessment in Step 1, intervention objectives were formulated in Step 2. In Step 3, we translated theoretical methods into practical applications, which were integrated into a coherent intervention in Step 4. In Step 5, we anticipated future implementation and adoption, and finally, an evaluation plan was generated in Step 6.

Results: Walking through the various steps of IM resulted in a detailed description of the intervention. The needs assessment indicated HPV-vaccination uptake remaining lower than expected. Mothers play the most important role in decision-making about their daughter's immunization. However, they generally feel ambivalent after they made their decisions, and their decisions are based on rather unstable grounds. Therefore, intervention objectives were to improve HPV-vaccination uptake and informed decision-making, and to decrease decisional conflict among mothers of invited girls. Computer-tailoring was chosen as the main method; virtual assistants were chosen as a practical application to deliver interactive tailored feedback. To maximize compatibility with the needs of the target group, a user-centered design strategy by means of focus groups and online experiments was applied. In these, prototypes were tested and sequentially refined. Finally, efficacy, effectiveness, and acceptability of the intervention were tested in a randomized controlled trial. Results showed a significant positive effect of the intervention on informed decision-making, decisional conflict, and nearly all determinants of HPV-vaccination uptake (P <0.001). Mothers evaluated the intervention as highly positive.

Discussion: Using IM led to an innovative effective intervention for promoting HPVvaccination acceptability. The intervention maps will aid in interpreting the results of our evaluation studies. Moreover, it will ease the comparison of design rationales across interventions, and may provide leads for the development of other eHealth interventions. This paper adds to the plea for systematic reporting of design rationales constituting the process of developing interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number226
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2018


  • HPV-vaccination acceptability
  • intervention mapping
  • eHealth
  • web-based intervention
  • design rationale
  • HIV


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