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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(3):317-23.

Predictors of anxiety and depression following pregnancy termination: a longitudinal five-year follow-up study.

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Department of Behavioural Sciences, Institute of Basic Sciences in Medicine, University of Oslo, Blindern, Norway.



The aims of the study were to assess anxiety and depression in women who had experienced either a miscarriage or an induced abortion, to compare the women's level of distress with that of a general population sample, and to find predictors of anxiety and depression six months and five years after the event.


A prospective, longitudinal follow-up study. Women who experienced miscarriage (n = 40) and induced abortion (n = 80) were interviewed ten days (T1), six months (T2), two years (T3), and five years (T4) after the event. On each occasion, they completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Life Events Scale. Paired-sample t-test, logistic regression, and multiple linear regression statistical tests were used.


Women with miscarriage had significantly more anxiety and depression at T1 than the general population, while women with induced abortion had significantly more anxiety at all time points and more depression at T1 and T2. In both groups, important predictors of anxiety and depression at T2 and T4 were recent life events and poor former psychiatric health. Childbirth events between T1 and T4 had no significant influence on the scores. For women with induced abortion, doubt about the decision to abort was related to depression at T2 (p <0.05), while a negative attitude towards induced abortion was associated with anxiety at T2 (p <0.05) and T4 (p <0.05).


Correlates of anxiety and depression may be used to better identify women who are at risk of negative psychological responses following pregnancy termination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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