Psychological effects women experience before and after a colposcopic examination and primary care appointment

Daron G. Ferris, Priscilla Ann Gilman, Ahidee G. Leyva Lopez, Mark S. Litaker, Jill A. Miller, Michael S. Macfee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective. To estimate the psychological impact, health and behavior concerns, and coping styles of women awaiting colposcopic examination compared with women awaiting a scheduled primary care appointment. Materials and methods. A convenience sample of 150 women presenting for a scheduled colposcopy examination and 201 women scheduled for a primary care appointment were assessed for demographic status, depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies/Depressed Mood Scale), anxiety, health beliefs and concerns, and coping style (Miller Behavioral Style Score). Subjects also completed a postexamination questionnaire. Mean responses were compared using Wilcoxon rank sum test. Results. Mean anxiety scores were considered "mild" and equivalent for women in the two groups. Although the colposcopy group had a significantly greater mean depression score (36.3) compared with the noncolposcopy group (33.4, p = .03, Wilcoxon test), both mean scores indicated mild depression. Women undergoing colposcopy reported greater mean scores for concern about their disease, the procedure, and potential consequences (p < .01, Wilcoxon test). Conclusion. Women scheduled for colposcopy have a similar level of mild anxiety and mild depression as women scheduled for a primary care appointment. Consequently, universal, instead of selective, use of anxiolytic agents before colposcopy appears unjustified. Avoidance of triage to colposcopy for atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance Pap smear results may be unwarranted based on concerns for causing excessive anxiety. In fact, colposcopy provides substantial reassurance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Lower Genital Tract Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003


  • Anxiety
  • Colposcopy
  • Depression
  • Patient satisfaction and acceptance
  • Psychological

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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