A biographical disruption: The case of an abnormal pap smear

Shireen S. Rajaram, Jeffery Hill, Carole Rave, Benjamin F. Crabtree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In this study we explore the biographical disruption resulting from a diagnosis of an abnormal Pap smear and the consequent process of biographical reconstruction. This is a qualitative study of thirteen women between the ages of 19 and 54 years who were diagnosed with an abnormal Pap smear and underwent colposcopy treatment. Data collection was through individual in-depth interviews, which were transcribed and analyzed by a team of researchers for important themes. An opportunistic sampling strategy was used. The inherent ambiguity in the diagnosis, its treatment strategies, the prognosis of their condition, and patients' fear of cancer all made the process of biographical reconstruction more problematic. By putting their faith in medicine and mobilizing their personal resources, women attempted to reestablish a positive personal and social self. Further exploration of the long-term psychosocial impact of this diagnosis is warranted so that women's emotional as well as medical needs are adequately addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-531
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Care for Women International
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)


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