Psychological impact of colorectal cancer screening

Health Psychol. 2003 Jan;22(1):54-9. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.22.1.54.


This article examines the psychological impact of participating in sigmoidoscopy screening for colorectal cancer prevention. The 1st study examined psychological well-being at 3 months, in relation to screening outcome, in 4,153 individuals. The 2nd study used longitudinal data to examine changes in psychological functioning from before to after screening in relation both to screening outcome and baseline indicators of vulnerability. There were few psychological differences between those who had received negative results or had polyps detected. These findings were confirmed in the longitudinal study, which also found no evidence for vulnerability to adverse effects among those who were initially most anxious or who perceived their risk of cancer to be higher. The longitudinal data suggested that screening might produce transient positive effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Risk Factors
  • Sigmoidoscopy / adverse effects
  • Sigmoidoscopy / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological