OBJECTIONS: Cervical cancer is the second most frequent cancer among women in Busan. The Pap smear test could have a significant effect on detecting cervical cancer, and enhancing their rate of use is an important strategy for reducing the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer. This study aimed to evaluate the factors associated with the past use of the Pap smear test in Korean women. METHODS: A population-based survey was carried out in Busan between November 1999 and March 2000. 1, 673 participants were randomly selected from 2, 684 women in Busan, using a 2-stage cluster sampling method, and interviewed in their homes. Their socio-demographic characteristics, smoking, drinking, familial cancer history, Pap smear screening history, reproductive and menstrual factors, sexual habits and use of contraceptive methods data were collected by a trained interviewer using a questionnaire. The use of the screening test was defined by a self-report from the participants on how many times they had had a Pap smear test in their lifetime, and when they had received their latest examination. RESULTS: Of the 1, 673 respondents (62.3% response rate), 57.6% had had a Pap smear test during her life (mean number, 2.3). Among the health examination participants (1, 064), 961 (90.3%) reported having sexual experience and 70.9% of these had had a Pap smear test. In a multiple logistic regression analysis, statistically significant relationships were observed for age groups and the Pap smear test rate (odds ratio, OR for 35-44 years=2.45; OR for 45-54 years=3.41; OR for 55 years=2.60; reference, under 34 years). The married or cohabiting women were more likely to have used the Pap smear test than those separated or widowed (OR=1.73). Among the reproductive behavioral measures, the number of births (OR for 3 births=4.22; OR for 2 births=3.95; OR for 1 births=3.38; reference, 0 births) and husband's extra-marital affairs (OR=1.50) were associated with the rates of use of Pap smear tests. CONCLUSION: It appears that the most important contributing factors to cervical cancer screening were age, marital status and number of births. A positive association was also observed for the husband's extra-marital affairs. This study enabled us to systematically assess the relationship between Pap smear rates and risk factors for cervical cancer. It is hoped that this study will make a significant contribution to the accumulating scientific evidence on the identification of factors associated with cervical cancer screening in Korea.