Host moderator variables in the promotion of cervical neoplasia--II. Dimensions of life stress

J Psychosom Res. 1989;33(4):457-67. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(89)90007-x.


Controllability and predictability have been shown to mediate the aversive impact of life events on health. This study examined the relationship of these parameters (along with coping style) to the promotion of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) to invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix. Seventy-five female patients participated while awaiting the results of colposcopically directed biopsy performed during work-up of an abnormal Pap smear. The Million Behavioral Health Inventory, a modified form of the Life Experience Survey, and a semi-structured interview were administered before subjects learned of their biopsy results. Subjects defined as susceptible by previous research had positive (through generally nonsignificant) correlations between life events and promotion while resilient subjects had negative correlations. The relationship between controllability of life events and CIN was moderated beneficially by a sociable and confident style and detrimentally by an inhibited style and a pessimistic attitude. Life event predictability did not contribute to CIN promotion beyond the effects of controllability.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Life Change Events*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / psychology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology*