Objectives: To investigate psychological functioning, relationship factors, perception of stigma, disclosure outcomes and regret about the disclosure decision in people being treated for anogenital warts and to evaluate possible predictors of disclosure and non-disclosure.
Method: A self-completion questionnaire was completed by 54 participants recruited from a London genitourinary medicine clinic. There were 36 disclosers and 18 non-disclosers.
Results: Disclosers were significantly less anxious than non-disclosers (p<0.01). Compared with non-disclosers, disclosers also rated their relationships as significantly longer-lasting (p<0.001) and closer (p<0.01). Disclosers were significantly less likely to express regret about their disclosure decision than non-disclosers (p<0.001). There were no significant differences between groups in depression, self-esteem, perceptions of level of stigma associated with STIs or expectations about the likely outcome of disclosure, although there was a trend towards higher stigma perception in disclosers (p=0.15). The actual partner response to disclosure was significantly more supportive than had been expected (p<0.001). A binary logistic regression model used three variables to predict disclosure status with an accuracy of 83%. Disclosers were predicted by lower anxiety levels, longer relationship duration and higher stigma perception.
Conclusions: Relationship factors, in particular duration, were key predictors of disclosure. In terms of individual characteristics, only anxiety was significantly different in disclosers and non-disclosers. Perceptions of stigma and expected outcome of disclosure were not significantly different in the two groups. The majority of respondents had disclosed.