The aim of this study was to examine psychological distress in a mammography screening process as a consequence of screening after adjusting for background, personality and prescreening distress. Subjects, aged 50 years, were invitees at their first screening. There were three groups; normal findings (n=1407), false-positive findings (n=492) and referents from outside the screening programme (n=1718, age 48-49 years). Distress was measured as illness worry, anxiety, depression, cancer beliefs and early detection behaviour. Measurements were one month before screening invitation with follow-ups at 2 and 12 months postscreening. At 2 months, there was a moderate multivariate effect of group on distress; and intrusive thinking and worry about breast cancer, in particular, were most frequent amongst the false positives. Intrusive thinking still prevailed at 12 months, in addition to a higher perceived breast cancer risk and susceptibility. Distress related to screening and false-positive findings seems to be moderate, but prevailing cancer-specific concerns call for improvements in screening programmes.