Publication Abstract

Authors: Sandin B, Chorot P, Valiente RM, Lostao L, Santed MA

Title: Adverse psychological effects in women attending a second-stage breast cancer screening.

Journal: J Psychosom Res 52(5):303-9

Date: 2002 May

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the emotional and psychopathological impact associated with a second-stage screening for breast cancer. METHOD: We used a short-term longitudinal design. Interviews were conducted with 1195 women of 45-65 years old in three temporal conditions (premammogram, postmammogram, and follow-up). Participants included women attending for regular breast cancer screening who were recalled for a further mammogram (i.e., second-stage breast cancer screening) and women who were not recalled. Affective-cognitive concerns about cancer (worry, fear, and perceived vulnerability) were rated using a 10-point Likert scale. Psychopathology was assessed using the Hopkins Symptom Check List-Revised (SCL-90-R). RESULTS: Women attending the second-stage screening exhibited significantly higher levels of breast cancer worries, fears, and beliefs than women attending for routine screening before obtaining the results of the mammogram. This affective-emotional impact disappeared quickly and was not relevant 2 months following the mammogram. Despite the fact that levels of psychopathological symptoms were higher in the premammogram condition, there were no differences between groups on these measures. CONCLUSION: These results provide support for the hypothesis that women recalled for further mammograms tend to experience high levels of affective-cognitive distress but not psychopathological symptoms. Moreover, results do not sustain the prediction that this psychological impact persists beyond receipt of a negative result. Some recommendations to reduce these psychological side effects are suggested.