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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1985 Mar;48(3):585-99.

Attributions, expectations, and coping with abortion.

Abstract

We examined cognitive predictors of coping with a negative life event. Women undergoing first-trimester abortion were, before the procedure, surveyed regarding their attributions for their pregnancy, expectations for coping, the meaningfulness of the pregnancy, and the degree to which the pregnancy was intended. After the abortion and again at a follow-up visit, we assessed affective state, physical complaints, anticipated negative consequences, and depression. As predicted, women who blamed their pregnancy on their character coped less well than low self-character blamers, but contrary to predictions, self-behavior blame was unrelated to coping. Women who had high coping expectations before the abortion coped much better than those with low coping expectations. Women who found their pregnancy highly meaningful, however, coped worse immediately after the abortion than did women who found their pregnancy less meaningful. Intentionality of the pregnancy was related to depression three weeks after the abortion, and women accompanied by their partner to the abortion clinic coped less well immediately after the abortion than women unaccompanied by their partner.

PIP:

This paper examines cognitive predictors of coping with a negative life event. Women undergoing 1st-trimester abortion were, before the procedure, surveyed regarding their attributions for their pregnancy, expectations for coping, the meaningfulness of the pregnancy, and the degree to which the pregnancy was intended. After the abortion, and again at a follow-up visit, affective state, physical complaints, anticipated negative consequences, and depression were assessed. As predicted, women who blamed their pregnancy on their character coped less well than low self-character blamers, but contrary to predictions, self-behavior blame was unrelated to coping. Subjects were 247 women who underwent vacuum aspiration at a free-standing, private abortion clinic in a large metropolitan area in New York State. 65% blamed no other person for their pregnancy; 43% blamed no aspect of their character; 34% blamed no aspect of their situation, and 21% blamed no aspect of chance. The items within a given attributional category tended to be blamed in a somewhat mutually exclusive manner. High situation blamers were significantly more depressed than low situation blamers; those who blamed others anticipated more severe negative consequences than did those who did not blame others; and high chance blamers tended to experience a worse affective state than low chance blamers. External blame was generally unrelated to coping in this study. Further research is clearly needed on the consequences of self-blame for coping and depression, with attention to the characteristics of the particular life event being experienced. The beneficial aspects of high coping expectations persisted 3 weeks after the abortion, even when immediate coping espectations were statistically controlled. Self-efficacy expectations are important factors in both the initiation and persistence of coping behaviors. Partner presence or absence at the abortion clinic had a significant impact on immediate coping responses. Surprisinly, women accompanied by their partners were significantly more depressed and reported more physical complaints than did women unaccompained by their partners. Women accompained by their partner were younger and had expected to cope less well with the abortion than those unaccompained by their partners.

PMID:
3989663
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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