Objective: To investigate the effects of precolposcopy counseling on women's anxiety, knowledge about colposcopy and compliance to follow-up.
Methods: Two hundred and twenty women referred for colposcopy for the first time were recruited. They attended precolposcopy sessions in which written and video information were given and subsequently were randomized to have either further explanation and discussion with an experienced colposcopic nurse (study group) or no further discussion (control group). Each subject completed a Chinese version of the state-anxiety questionnaire (STAI) and a knowledge questionnaire before and immediately after the precolposcopy sessions and also before the colposcopy examination. Women's concern and opinion on the programme were also assessed. Follow-up data was compared with those who did not attend the precolposcopy sessions.
Results: Women's knowledge about colposcopy significantly improved after the precolposcopy sessions. The improvement was more significant in the study group than in the control group immediately after the sessions (P = 0.003). The difference between the groups in knowledge scores remained statistically significant before colposcopic examination (P = 0.015) but the difference diminished between these two assessment points. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in the anxiety scores at all assessment points. Women who attended the precolposcopy sessions had a significantly higher attendance rates and better compliance to follow-up than those who did not attend the sessions.
Conclusion: Precolposcopy session with explanation and discussion improves women's knowledge about colposcopy, but has negligible effects on women's anxiety before colposcopy. Provision of written and video information at the precolposcopy sessions can improve compliance to follow-up after colposcopy.