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Trends in, and predictors of, anxiety and specific worries following colposcopy: a 12-month longitudinal study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Linda Sharp


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ObjectiveLittle is known about which women are at greatest risk of adverse psychological after-effects following colposcopy. This study examined time trends in, and identified predictors of, anxiety and specific worries over 12months.MethodsWomen attending two hospital-based colposcopy clinics for abnormal cervical cytology were invited to complete psychosocial questionnaires at 4, 8 and 12months following colposcopy. General anxiety and screening-specific worries (about cervical cancer, having sex and future fertility) were measured. Generalised estimating equations were used to assess associations between socio-demographic, lifestyle and clinical variables and risk of psychological outcomes.ResultsOf 584 women initially recruited, 429, 343 and 303 completed questionnaires at 4, 8 and 12months, respectively. Screening-specific worries declined significantly over time but were still relatively high at 12months: 23%, 39% and 18% for worries about cervical cancer, fertility and having sex, respectively. Anxiety remained stable (20%) over time. Risks of cervical cancer worry and anxiety were both almost double in women without private health insurance (cervical cancer worry: OR=1.80, 95% CI 1.25-2.61; anxiety: OR=1.84, 95% CI 1.20-2.84). Younger women (<40years) had higher risk of fertility worries. Non-Irish women had higher risk of anxiety (OR=2.13, 95% CI 1.13-4.01).ConclusionsScreening-specific worries declined over time but anxiety remained stable. Notable proportions of women still reported adverse outcomes 12months following colposcopy, with predictors varying between outcomes. Women in socio-demographically vulnerable groups were at greatest risk of adverse psychological outcomes. This information could inform development of interventions to alleviate psychological distress post-colposcopy. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): O'Connor M, O'Leary E, Waller J, Gallagher P, D'arcy T, Flannelly G, Martin CM, McRae J, Prendiville W, Ruttle C, White C, Pilkington L, O'Leary JJ, Sharp L, Irish Cervical Screening Res Conso

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psycho-Oncology

Year: 2016

Volume: 25

Issue: 5

Pages: 597-604

Print publication date: 01/05/2016

Online publication date: 22/09/2015

Acceptance date: 19/08/2015

ISSN (print): 1057-9249

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1611

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/pon.3980


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Funder referenceFunder name
ICE/2011/2Health Research Board
HS-05-09Health Research Board, Ireland