National Cancer Institute
Behavioral Research - Cancer Control and Population Sciences

Key Initiatives

Behavioral Studies Regarding HPV and Cervical Cancer

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Receipt of Guideline Concordant Cervical Cancer Surveillance in Women

Investigator: Julie C. Weitlauf, PhD

This study examines whether Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a risk factor for decreased cervical cancer surveillance care among women. Behavioral factors such as avoidance are common in PTSD and may increase the likelihood that some women will postpone or avoid preventive gynecological care. This avoidance may be particularly pronounced among women whose PTSD was caused by the leading precipitant in women (i.e., sexual trauma) because invasive exams may trigger traumatic memories of a prior assault. The interpersonal features of PTSD (i.e., poor communication skills, anger, and hostility) and commonly comorbid psychiatric symptoms (i.e., anxiety) may interfere with doctor-patient interactions and adversely impact women's quality of care. This work lays the foundation for subsequent studies that will include primary data collection to better understand the relationships between PTSD and receipt of guideline-concordant cervical cancer surveillance (CCS). Long-term study goals include the implementation of intervention studies that will target specific cohorts of women with PTSD for improved adherence to CCS guidelines.

For more information, contact NCI Program Director: Veronica Chollette, RN, MS

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Last Updated: January 5, 2012

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