The effect of educational brochures on follow-up compliance in women with abnormal Papanicolaou smears

Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Apr;83(4):583-5. doi: 10.1097/00006250-199404000-00016.


Objective: To determine whether women with abnormal Papanicolaou smears who received educational brochures at the initial booking for colposcopy were more likely to complete recommended treatment and follow-up after 18-24 months than were those who did not receive the brochures.

Methods: One hundred eight women participated in an earlier randomized study of the effect of educational brochures on emotional distress and knowledge about abnormal Papanicolaou smears. Their medical records were reviewed 18-24 months later for completed treatment and follow-up compliance.

Results: Women who received the brochure had more completed treatment and follow-up compliance (75.4%) than did those who did not receive the brochure (45.8%). The difference in compliance was 30% (99% confidence interval [CI] 6-54%, P = .002). There were no significant differences in age, education, marital status, or levels of emotional distress between subjects with complete and incomplete follow-up. Knowledge of the recommended number of follow-up visits was greater in women who completed follow-up (difference in frequency 30.4%; 99% CI 7-54%, P = .002). All women with completed treatment and follow-up who had received the brochure found it helpful.

Conclusions: Given the high patient acceptability and demonstrated effectiveness in improving completed treatment and follow-up compliance, educational brochures should routinely accompany, or immediately follow, notification about abnormal Papanicolaou smears.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Pamphlets*
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Vaginal Smears / psychology
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*