Cervical cancer is still widely prevalent in the female population. This study explores the relationship of cervical cancer screening, positive versus negative Papanicolaou's test results, and psychologic status among lower-income minority women. All patients were interviewed 3 months after they had received initial test results. One hundred six women with normal Papanicolaou's test results were compared with 118 women who were referred for colposcopic examination for follow-up of positive test results. Women with positive Papanicolaou's-test results showed statistically significant elevations in worries about cancer and impairments in mood, daily activities, sexual interest, and sleep patterns. More fine-grained analyses revealed that the effects of positive results were most pronounced among those women who did not comply with colposcopy (n = 53). These findings suggest that lack of compliance with follow-up may maintain high levels of uncertainty about disease and may interfere with successful psychologic adaptation. Health education targeted to psychologically vulnerable individuals may reduce psychologic distress and enhance compliance.