CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles


Objective: Approximately 4000 women annually will die from preventable and treatable cervical cancer. Failure to adhere to follow-up recommendations after an abnormal Pap test can lead to development of cervical cancer. This paper summarizes the body of literature on adherence to follow-up after an abnormal Pap test in order to facilitate development of interventions

to decrease morbidity and mortality due to cervical cancer.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive search of published literature addressing risk factors for adherence or interventions to improve adherence following an abnormal Pap test as the outcome. We included peer-reviewed original research conducted in the United States from 1990 to 2005.

Results: Fourteen analytical and twelve experimental studies that met our criteria were reviewed. Lesion severity and health beliefs were consistently associated with adherence rates. Communication interventions, including telephone reminders, counseling, and educational sessions, increased follow-up compliance across intervention studies. Inconsistent evidence for associations among race, income, and age were found.

Conclusions: Further research is needed to reinforce current studies addressing health beliefs and social support. Interventions that focus on the interplay among psychological, educational, and communication barriers are necessary. These interventions should be adapted and applied across various racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups to reach all women with a high-risk profile for invasive cervical cancer.

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Notes/Citation Information

Dr. Ann Coker had not been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky at the time of publication.

This is a copy of an article published in the Journal of Women’s Health © 2007 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; Journal of Women’s Health is available online at:

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