Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Colleen Fisher

Second Advisor

Jill Darby

Abstract

The aim of this research was to explore the Pap smear experiences of young women aged 18 to 25. The effectiveness of Pap smear screening and the barriers to obtaining one have been well researched. However, there is limited information in the literature on young women's experiences of Pap smear screening and the context in which they move from intending to be screened to actually undertaking the screening. This qualitative study, underpinned by a constructivist paradigm informed by a feminist epistemology, consisted of eight semi structured interviews with young women who had participated in Pap smear screening. Data analysis using the method of constant comparison revealed that the Pap smear experiences of young women were complex and influenced by personal, social and environmental contexts. As such, five broad themes emerged from the research and were centered on the participants' experiences of Pap smear screening: 'apprehension', 'first Pap smear experience', 'initial participation in Pap smear screening', 'awareness of participation in Pap smear screening' and 'being comfortable with Pap smear screening'. Examining and understanding the dimensions of young women's Pap smear experiences, and understanding the nature of relationships that mediate young women's participation in Pap smear screening, provides Health Promoters with information on which to base potential campaign strategies and give direction on how to facilitate young women in moving from intention to action.

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