Understandings of cervical screening in sexual minority women: A Q-methodological study

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Feminism and Psychology


Discursive perspectives argue that cervical screening carries social and moral meaning. Overlooked by research into the health needs of sexual minority women, previous literature that has examined uptake of cervical screening has instead targeted increasing attendance via information and service provision. In order to explore the diversity of meanings that British sexual minority women have about cervical screening, the Q-sorts of 34 sexual minority women were factor analysed by-person and rotated to simple structure using Varimax. The five factors are interpreted and discussed relative to competing discourses on information provision within cervical screening. The five accounts are labelled 'cervical screening is': an essential health check that women have the right to refuse; a woman's health entitlement; a vital test but degrading experience; a sensible thing to do; and an unnecessary imposition for some women. Critical approaches to informed choice are explored with attention to recent developments in cervical cancer prevention. Findings highlighting the need for affirmation of diversity within healthcare are considered in relation to existing criteria for UK national screening programmes. © 2009 SAGE.

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