Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

James H. Geer


This study examined the effects of suggestive questioning on women's retrospective ratings of pain and anxiety experienced during colposcopy. The wording of questions was varied between participants (Pain Suggesting, Pain Denying, or No Suggestion). Number of recall sessions was also varied between participants in that some participants completed two ratings (Immediate and Delayed Recall) while others completed only one rating (Delayed Recall). Trait anxiety, pain severity at the time of the memory task, and medical procedure (whether or not the patient underwent a biopsy) were included in the analyses as covariates. Ratings of sensory and affective pain severity as well as pain frequency were the primary dependent variables in MANCOVA. Survey information was also collected regarding patients' suggestions for improving compliance with medical follow-up. Results indicated that the multivariate Suggestion effect was weak at Delayed Recall (p < .077) when the entire sample was included, but was highly significant when participants were excluded who were either incorrect or unsure as to whether or not they had undergone a biopsy (p < .005). Specifically, suggestive information was found to significantly alter ratings of affective pain severity in the direction of the suggestive information. No main effect of Number of Recall Sessions was noted, nor was there a significant Suggestion by Number of Recall Sessions interaction. Correlational data indicated significant associations between pain ratings and anxiety, but the relationship between current pain and retrospective ratings was not supported. Survey data indicated that women want more information about what to expect during colposcopic examination. Problems with the study are discussed, and suggestions for practical applications of the findings are offered.