Sources of anxiety about pelvic examinations among adolescent females

J Adolesc Health Care. 1984 Apr;5(2):105-11. doi: 10.1016/s0197-0070(84)80008-x.


Sources of anxiety about pelvic examinations were examined in 84 female adolescents seen in an adolescent clinic. The most common concerns about the examination were: fear of the discovery of pathology; fear of pain; and embarrassment about undressing and about personal cleanliness. Adolescent concerns were highly associated with their level of anxiety prior to, during, and following the examination. The concern most highly associated with anxiety was fear of pain. Fear that the pelvic examination might be painful may be the most important concern to alleviate in the adolescent patient. The most frequent source of information about the pelvic examination was peers, and the most common specific message from peers was that the examination was painful. Provider messages were more diffuse and rarely mentioned the physical sensations associated with the procedure, which may have less impact on the adolescent than the specific warnings of peers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Peer Group
  • Pelvis
  • Physical Examination*
  • Psychology, Adolescent*