The role of individually targeted information to reduce anxiety before colposcopy: a randomised controlled trial

Authors


Dr RP de Bie, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (internal mail 791), PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Email R.deBie@obgyn.umcn.nl

Abstract

Please cite this paper as: de Bie R, Massuger L, Lenselink C, Derksen Y, Prins J, Bekkers R. The role of individually targeted information to reduce anxiety before colposcopy: a randomised controlled trial. BJOG 2011;118:945–950.

Objective  We investigated whether providing targeted information on an individual level by mail and by phone reduces anxiety in women referred to the colposcopy clinic.

Design  Randomised controlled trial.

Population  Women referred to the colposcopy clinic.

Methods  Between December 2007 and April 2010, 169 patients with abnormal smear results were randomised into two study arms. Group A received individually targeted information about the diagnosis and procedure by mail and phone. Group B received the standard folder about colposcopies alone. Patients were requested to fill out a questionnaire prior to their first colposcopy appointment.

Main outcome measures  The questionnaire included the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS), and the Spielberger state–trait anxiety inventory (STAI), as well as a short self-administered questionnaire.

Results  Twenty women were excluded from further analyses after randomisation, leaving 149 women for evaluation. The median STAI state anxiety score was high (50.0), but there was no significant difference in median STAI state anxiety and HADS anxiety scores between both groups. However, knowledge about human papillomavirus and the colposcopy procedure did significantly increase in group A (= 0.004).

Conclusions  Anxiety levels before primary colposcopy are surprisingly high, and are not reduced following individually targeted information given before colposcopy.

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