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This article is the authors' final version prior to publication in Frontiers in Digital Health, Volume 3, August 2021, Article number 682639.

The published version is available at Copyright © Massey et al.


Introduction: Personas are based on real-life typologies of people that can be used to create characters and messages to communicate important health information through relatable narrative storylines. Persona development is data-driven and can involve multiple phases of formative research and evaluation; however, personas are largely underutilized in digital health research. The purpose of this study was to create and document persona development to deliver narrative-focused health education for parents on Twitter with the goal of increasing uptake of HPV vaccination among adolescents. Methods: Leveraging data from a mixed-method study conducted in the U.S. with a diverse population of parents with adolescents ages 9-14, we used both qualitative and quantitative data (e.g., the National Immunization Survey-Teen, focus groups, and social media) to create personas. These data sources were used to identify and develop key characteristics for personas to reflect a range of parents and their diverse understandings and experiences related to HPV vaccination. A parent advisory board provided insight and helped refine persona development. Results: Four personas emerged and were characterized as the (1) Informed Altruist, (2) Real Talker, (3) Information Gatherer, and (4) Supporter. Characteristics differed across personas and provided insights into targeted narrative strategies. Described attributes included demographics, psychographics, communication style, vaccine goals and aspirations, vaccine challenges and frustrations, and vaccine hesitancy. Discussion: This work demonstrates how multiple data sources can be used to create personas to deliver social media messages that can address the diverse preferences and needs of parents for HPV vaccine information. With increasing usage of social media for health information among parents, it is important for researchers to consider marketing and design thinking to create health communication messages that resonate with audiences.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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