Interacting effects of information and coping style in adapting to gynecologic stress: should the doctor tell all?

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1983 Jul;45(1):223-36. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.45.1.223.


This study explored the interacting effects of personal dispositions and situational conditions on the stress response. Forty gynecologic patients about to undergo a diagnostic procedure (colposcopy) were divided into information seekers (monitors) and information avoiders (blunters). Half in each group were exposed to voluminous preparatory information, and half to the usual low level of information. Subjective, physiological, and behavioral measures of arousal and discomfort were obtained before, during, and after the procedure. Overall, low-information patients expressed less subjective arousal than high-information patients, and blunters showed less subjective and behavioral arousal than monitors. In addition, patients' level of psychophysiological arousal was lower when the level of preparatory information was consistent with their coping style; that is, blunters were less aroused with low information and monitors were less aroused with high information. Further evidence was gained for the utility and validity of a new scale for identifying monitors and blunters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / physiopathology
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Colposcopy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulse
  • Stress, Psychological*