Developing a questionnaire to measure the psychosocial impact of an abnormal cervical smear result and its subsequent management: the TOMBOLA (Trial Of Management of Borderline and Other Low-grade Abnormal smears) trial.

Nicola Mary Gray, Linda Sharp, Seonaidh Claire Cotton, M. Avis, Z. Philips, I. Russell, L. G. Walker, D. K. Whynes, Julian Little

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This paper describes the process of developing and testing a new questionnaire, Process Outcome Specific Measure (POSM), including an assessment of its content validity and reliability. The questionnaire was developed within the context of Trial Of Management of Borderline and Other Low-grade Abnormal smears (TOMBOLA) to assess the psychosocial impact of a low-grade abnormal cervical smear result and the subsequent management. A literature search, focus groups and thorough pre-testing involving experts and patients resulted in a short (15-item), easily completed and understood questionnaire. Questions address issues including cancer, health, fertility, and sexual concerns. Repeatability was assessed in 110 TOMBOLA recruits using weighted K; all but one of the questions showed levels of reliability near to, or above, 0.5. Cronbach's standardised a was 0.73, indicating acceptable internal consistency. Each POSM item was correlated with the anxiety and depression sub-scales of the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS). All except one of the questions correlated more highly with the total POSM score than with the HADS sub-scales thus indicating discriminant validity. The POSM will enable comparison of the alternative management policies for low-grade cervical smears in terms of the benefits (or otherwise) perceived by the women managed by these policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1553-1562
Number of pages9
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005


  • cervical intraepithelial neoplasia
  • mass screening
  • psychological factors
  • questionnaires

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