Anxiety associated with colposcopy at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Johannesburg

MYH Moosa, L Chait, A Cohen, L Diamond, J Dunlop, M Masela, T Matlhatsi, T E Mehlomakhulu, J Naidu, B Ngutshane, P Vythilingum


Given the high incidence of cervical cancer in South Africa and the distress it causes, we aimed to determine the extent of anxiety in patients undergoing colposcopy at Chris Hani Baragwanath (CHB) Hospital, Johannesburg.

Method. A descriptive and cross-sectional study design was applied on a convenient sample of patients from the waiting area of the colposcopy clinic at CHB Hospital. Females attending a first colposcopy appointment were invited to participate by completing the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) after written informed consent had been obtained.

Results. Among a total of 31 women, the mean STAI score for state anxiety was 46.77 (SD=12.92) and the mean STAI score for trait anxiety was 46.81 (SD=9.50); 51.6% of the patients had a STAI state anxiety score of >50, while 41.9% of the patients had a STAI trait anxiety score >50. There was no significant association between either elevated STAI state or trait anxiety scores and age group ( χ 2 =1.77; p= 0.18 and χ 2 =0.001; p= 0.98, respectively); marital status ( χ 2 =0.301; p= 0.58 and χ 2 =0.834; p= 0.36); level of education ( χ 2 =0.444; p= 0.51 and χ 2 =2.40; p= 0.12); employment status ( χ 2 =1.78; p= 0.18 and χ 2 =0.001; p= 0.98); monthly income ( χ 2 =1.15; p= 0.28 and χ 2 =0.03; p= 0.86) or using stimulants ( χ 2 =0.416; p= 0.52 and χ 2 =0.394; p= 0.53). There was a significant negative correlation between age and STAI state anxiety scores ( r 2 =0.004; p= 0.017) and a positive correlation between age and STAI trait anxiety scores ( r 2 =0.004; p= 0.019).

Conclusion. This study reported significantly elevated trait anxiety scores relating to colposcopy and emphasises the need to identify the anxiety and institute a plan to ameliorate it with information booklets, leaflets, video colposcopy and educational counselling.

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Submitted: 30 June 2009
Published: 01 June 2009

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)