Title

Adolescent and young adult women's misunderstanding of the term Pap smear

UMMS Affiliation

Departments of Pediatrics; Department of Psychiatry

Date

10-7-2004

Document Type

Article

Subjects

Adolescent; Adolescent Behavior; Adult; Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia; Female; *Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Humans; Linear Models; Mass Screening; Multivariate Analysis; Patient Compliance; Population Surveillance; Questionnaires; Sensitivity and Specificity; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; *Terminology as Topic; Uterine Cervical Neoplasms; Vaginal Smears

Disciplines

Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Pediatrics

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To learn more about young women's understanding of the term Pap smear.

DESIGN: Self-administered survey.

SETTING: UMass Memorial Adolescent Clinic.

PARTICIPANTS: Female patients 14 years or older (and their mothers when available) who visited the clinic between June 10 and August 9, 2002.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Accuracy of participants' written definition for the term Pap smear and knowledge that a "Pap smear" is a test for cervical cancer and not synonymous with a pelvic examination, sexually transmitted disease test, pregnancy test, or checkup.

RESULTS: Three (2.7%) of the 111 adolescent participants provided an accurate definition of the term Pap smear. Sixty-eight percent mistakenly believed that a Pap smear was the same as a pelvic examination. Age, history of sexual intercourse, and having had a Pap smear correlated with a better Pap smear definition rating.

CONCLUSIONS: Remarkably few patients who participated in this study understood the meaning of the term Pap smear. Confusion about gynecologic terms may hinder efforts to enhance compliance with sexually transmitted disease and cervical cancer screening. Educational initiatives are needed to improve young people's comprehension and to prevent misunderstandings about gynecologic care and miscommunication between patients and their health care providers.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Oct;158(10):966-70. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version

10.1001/archpedi.158.10.966

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal Title

Archives of pediatrics and adolescent medicine 15809400

PubMed ID

15466684