Skip Navigation LinksHome > October 2007 - Volume 11 - Issue 4 > In My Own Words: Misunderstanding of Pap Smears and Colposco...
Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease:
doi: 10.1097/LGT.0b013e318033999f
Original Articles

In My Own Words: Misunderstanding of Pap Smears and Colposcopy Among Appalachian Women

Fortner, Kimberly B. MD1; Zite, Nikki B. MD, MPH1; Wallace, Lorraine S. PhD2

Collapse Box


Objective. To evaluate knowledge of Pap smear screening and colposcopy among Appalachian women.

Materials and Methods. English-speaking women (18 years or older) referred for colposcopy after abnormal Pap testing at a teaching hospital in the southeastern United States were studied. Structured interviews were conducted to assess demographic characteristics, health literacy skills using the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine, understanding of the Pap smear and colposcopy, state anxiety, and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia distress.

Results. The mean age of women was 29.6 ± 10.94, 93.2% white, 50.2% high school graduates or had an equivalency diploma, and 55.3% current cigarette use. Approximately one fifth (n = 22) of women had limited health literacy skills. Overall, womens' understanding of the Pap test, meaning of abnormal Pap test results, identification of risk factors contributing to abnormal Pap test results, and understanding of colposcopy was limited. Health literacy skills was the lone characteristic to significantly predict overall understanding of the Pap smear and colposcopy (unstandardized β coefficient [SE] = 0.68 [0.02], p < .05).

Conclusions. These findings demonstrate that Pap smear and colposcopy knowledge is associated with health literacy skills. Health care providers should be aware that many women lack sufficient knowledge of the Pap smear and colposcopy and tailor counseling during the clinical encounter accordingly.

©2007The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology


Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.