Sources of the uncertainty experienced by women with HPV

Qual Health Res. 2012 Apr;22(4):534-45. doi: 10.1177/1049732311424404. Epub 2011 Nov 7.


Women with genital human papillomavirus (HPV) experience considerable stress and uncertainty as a result of the diagnosis; however, little is known about the sources of uncertainty in HPV. Given that uncertainty creates stress, which might be linked to the pathogenesis of cervical cancer, research on these sources of uncertainty is warranted. To this end, we completed semistructured interviews with 25 women living with HPV, and identified seven sources of uncertainty: The meaning of the diagnosis, the potential for disease progression, finances, the source of the infection, disclosure, sex and reproduction, and the HPV vaccine. In the discussion we articulate the relevance and importance of study findings to research, theory, and practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / psychology
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Sexuality
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Uncertainty*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / etiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology
  • Women's Health*
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines