ERIC Number: ED322436
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug
Psychological Effects of Abortion: A Critical Review with Implications for Predicting Women at Risk.
McFarlane, Mary Elaine
This paper examines facts and faults of some of the relevant research concerning abortion and its psychological effects. The paper notes that because of research design flaws, conclusions are tentative at best. However, it is concluded that research suggests or indicates: (1) women primarily experience relief and few negative psychological sequelae in the short- and long-term after abortion; (2) women who experience anxiety and depression tend to be younger, unmarried, and more ambivalent about their decision and are more likely to avoid follow-up interviews; and (3) women undergoing subsequent pregnancies also become more vulnerable to delayed grief reactions as defenses weaken, and thus attrition and the use of defenses may result in an underestimation of the prevalence of negative sequelae following abortion. Risk factors identified include: characteristics of the woman prior to and at the time of abortion; the nature of social support and cultural milieu around the abortion; characteristics of the medical environment and abortion procedure; and events subsequent to the abortion which may have aroused post-decisional conflict. The paper concludes that researchers were biased and the effect of those biases has been to hinder accurate estimates of the percentage of women experiencing negative effects of abortion by creating a myth that such problems do not exist. (ABL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Dissertations/Theses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Doctoral research paper, Biola University.