There has been continued interest in the extent to which women have positive and negative reactions to abortion.
To document emotional reactions to abortion, and to examine the links between reactions to abortion and subsequent mental health outcomes.
Data were gathered on the pregnancy and mental health history of a birth cohort of over 500 women studied to the age of 30.
Abortion was associated with high rates of both positive and negative emotional reactions; however, nearly 90% of respondents believed that the abortion was the right decision. Analyses showed that the number of negative responses to the abortion was associated with increased levels of subsequent mental health disorders (P<0.05). Further analyses suggested that, after adjustment for confounding, those having an abortion and reporting negative reactions had rates of mental health disorders that were approximately 1.4–1.8 times higher than those not having an abortion.
Abortion was associated with both positive and negative emotional reactions. The extent of negative emotional reactions appeared to modify the links between abortion and subsequent mental health problems.
- © 2009 Royal College of Psychiatrists