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Br J Psychiatry. 2008 Dec;193(6):444-51. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.056499.

Abortion and mental health disorders: evidence from a 30-year longitudinal study.

Author information

1
Christchurch Healthnd Development Study, University of Otago, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand. dm.fergusson@otago.ac.nz

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Research on the links between abortion and mental health has been limited by design problems and relatively weak evidence.

AIMS:

To examine the links between pregnancy outcomes and mental health outcomes.

METHOD:

Data were gathered on the pregnancy and mental health history of a birth cohort of over 500 women studied to the age of 30.

RESULTS:

After adjustment for confounding, abortion was associated with a small increase in the risk of mental disorders; women who had had abortions had rates of mental disorder that were about 30% higher. There were no consistent associations between other pregnancy outcomes and mental health. Estimates of attributable risk indicated that exposure to abortion accounted for 1.5% to 5.5% of the overall rate of mental disorders.

CONCLUSIONS:

The evidence is consistent with the view that abortion may be associated with a small increase in risk of mental disorders. Other pregnancy outcomes were not related to increased risk of mental health problems.

PMID:
19043144
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.bp.108.056499
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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