Education, income and occupation and their influence on the uptake of cervical cancer prevention strategies: a systematic review

Jessica Murfin, Fiona Irvine, Ronnie Meechan‐rogers, Amelia Swift

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
493 Downloads (Pure)


Aims: To report a systematic review of the literature exploring how education, income and occupation influence the uptake of cervical screening and HPV vaccination among eligible women in developed countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Germany and Norway.

Background: Cervical cancer remains a highly prevalent disease despite it being largely preventable through cervical screening and HPV vaccination. Incidence and mortality of cervical cancer are unequally distributed among socioeconomic groups, warranting research into how individual socioeconomic factors contribute to this unbalanced uptake of prevention strategies.

Design: Systematic review and narrative synthesis.

Methods: The PRISMA guidelines (PLoS Medicine, 6, 2009, e1000097) guided the selection of papers. MEDLINE, CINHAL, PsychINFO, Science Citation Index and HMIC were searched. Ten articles were suitable. Key findings were then extracted, and a narrative synthesis was completed, using suitable guidance and the AXIS tool.

Results: Obtaining high school or college education is associated with uptake of both cervical screening and HPV vaccination. Total household income and income in respect of the countries' poverty line was measured less frequently than education, but associated with screening and vaccination in some studies. Occupation was infrequently measured in comparison to education and income, limiting conclusions of its association to uptake.

Conclusion: Education and income have an association with uptake of cervical screening and HPV vaccination among women. However, evidence is insufficient to affirm a relationship between occupation and uptake of screening and vaccination. Further research would be advised to strengthen these findings.

Relevance to clinical practice: Interventions to promote cervical cancer prevention strategies should be targeted at women and girls with lower education levels and lower income. However, differences are displayed in the relationships between the individual socioeconomic factors and uptake of preventative strategies between countries and populations and so they should be considered separately. Nurses play a considerable role in people's perceptions and experiences of cervical screening and HPV vaccination. The review findings offer new insight that can inform future policy and nursing practice on targeting interventions to promote uptake among women who are underusing cervical cancer prevention programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393–415
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number3-4
Early online date12 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2019


  • HPV vaccination
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cervical cancer prevention
  • Cervical screening
  • Education
  • Income
  • Inequalities
  • Occupation
  • Socioeconomic
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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