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 (P = 0.004).
Conclusions Anxiety levels before primary colposcopy are surprisingly high, and are not reduced following individually targeted information given before colposcopy.