Coping and anxiety in women recalled for additional diagnostic procedures following an abnormal screening mammogram

Health Psychol. 2004 Jan;23(1):42-8. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.23.1.42.


This study characterized women's concurrent and subsequent levels of emotional distress associated with a questionable mammogram screening and relationships between women's coping and psychosocial adjustment. State anxiety was assessed in 98 women 1 day after receiving a mammogram screening (Time 1), after notification of a questionable screening result that necessitated additional testing (Time 2), and after being informed of their breast-cancer-free status (Time 3). Key findings include (a) women reported a significant increase in anxiety following notification of the need to return for follow-up testing; (b) significant and positive associations were found between anxiety and behavioral approach, behavioral avoidance, cognitive approach, and cognitive avoidance coping in cross-sectional analyses; and (c) cognitive avoidance coping was a strong predictor of final levels of state anxiety in women. Findings suggest that cognitive avoidance coping plays an important role in reducing anxiety in women recalled to clarify an initially ambiguous screening procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Demography
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Mass Screening / instrumentation*
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged