Recent evidence has linked induced abortion with later adverse psychiatric outcomes in young women.
To examine whether abortion or miscarriage are associated with subsequent psychiatric and substance use disorders.
A sample (n=1223) of women from a cohort born between 1981 and 1984 in Australia were assessed at 21 years for psychiatric and substance use disorders and lifetime pregnancy histories.
Young women reporting a pregnancy loss had nearly three times the odds of experiencing a lifetime illicit drug disorder (excluding cannabis): abortion odds ratio (OR)=3.6 (95% CI 2.0–6.7) and miscarriage OR=2.6 (95% CI 1.2–5.4). Abortion was associated with alcohol use disorder (OR=2.1, 95% CI 1.3–3.5) and 12-month depression (OR=1.9, 95% CI 1.1–3.1).
These findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that pregnancy loss per se, whether abortion or miscarriage, increases the risk of a range of substance use disorders and affective disorders in young women.
- © 2008 Royal College of Psychiatrists