Direct-to-adolescent text messaging for vaccine reminders: What will parents permit?

James R. Roberts, Kristen Morella, Erin H. Dawley, Christi A. Madden, Robert M. Jacobson, Charlene Pope, Boyd Davis, David Thompson, Elizabeth S. O'Brien, Paul M. Darden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Direct-to-adolescent text messaging may be a consideration for vaccine reminders, including human papilloma virus (HPV), but no studies have explored the minimum age at which parents would allow adolescents to receive a text message. Methods: We distributed a survey to parents of 10–17 year olds during any office visit in two practice based research networks in South Carolina and Oklahoma. We asked about parental preference for receiving vaccine reminders for their adolescent, whether they would allow the healthcare provider to directly message their adolescent, and if so, what would be the acceptable minimum age. Results: In 546 surveys from 11 practices, parents of females were more supportive of direct-to-teen text message reminders than were parents of males, (75% v. 60%, p <.001). The median age at which parents would allow direct text messages from physicians’ offices was 14 in females compared to 15 in males, p =.049. We found a correlation between the child's age and the youngest age at which parents would allow a direct text message. Of the parents who permitted a text message directly to their adolescent, most reported an allowable age higher than their adolescent's current age until the age of 15. Conclusion: Our study suggests that direct-to-adolescent text messaging would be allowed by parents for older adolescents. This supports an intervention aimed at older adolescents, such as for receipt of MCV4 dose #2, delayed HPV vaccine series completion and annual influenza vaccination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2788-2793
Number of pages6
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 11 2018


  • Adolescent
  • Immunizations
  • Reminders
  • Text message
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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