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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2000 Feb;26(1):61-75.

Abortion and subsequent substance abuse.

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Elliot Institute.


A statistical association between a history of substance abuse and a history of abortion has been identified in several studies, but this association has not yet been thoroughly analyzed. This study draws on a subset of data from a reproductive history survey that included a nonparametric self-assessment of past substance abuse distributed to a random sample of American women. Analysis of this substance abuse variable showed that a report of substance abuse following a first pregnancy was associated significantly with (a) abortion for all women, (b) abortion for adolescents, and (c) abortion for women over 19 years of age. Women who aborted a first pregnancy were five times more likely to report subsequent substance abuse than women who carried to term, and they were four times more likely to report substance abuse compared to those who suffered a natural loss of their first pregnancy (i.e., due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or stillbirth). Women with a history of abortion or a history of substance abuse were significantly more likely to feel discomfort in responding to the survey. The findings of this study have important implications for the design of future studies examining substance abuse, adolescents, and women. These findings may also have clinical and counseling implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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