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Prev Med. 2004 Aug;39(2):404-12.

Distress after an abnormal Pap smear result: scale development and psychometric validation.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Science, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Psychological distress is severe in women who receive a report of abnormal findings on Pap smear, and may be one reason 10-61% of such women fail to undergo follow-up testing.


Using the 14-question Psychosocial Effects of Abnormal Pap Smears Questionnaire (PEAPS-Q) as a basis, we developed the 23-question Cervical Dysplasia Distress Questionnaire (CDDQ), testing its internal consistency and validity with 661 women undergoing colposcopy after an abnormal Pap smear finding in a three-phase analysis.


Items were divided into two sets and factor analyzed separately: one addressed distress during medical procedures, and the other concerned perceived consequences of an abnormal Pap smear. The medical procedures items yielded two factors: embarrassment regarding the procedures and discomfort/tension with the procedures. Factor analysis of the second set also resulted in two factors: concern about sexual and reproductive issues and concern about health consequences. Subscales created from items loading highly on each factor had high internal consistency (alpha ranged from 0.76 to 0.90) and demonstrated good concurrent validity with other psychometrically validated measures of distress.


The CDDQ is a reliable and valid questionnaire for measuring multiple domains of distress unique to women who test positive on a cervical cancer screening test.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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