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J Behav Health Serv Res. 2013 Jul;40(3):279-93. doi: 10.1007/s11414-013-9328-0.

The characteristics and severity of psychological distress after abortion among university students.

Author information

1
Department of Healthcare Environments and Systems, College of Nursing, Health Professions, Nursing and Pharmacy Complex, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100187, Gainesville, FL 32610-0187, USA. maureencurley@ufl.edu

Abstract

Controversy over abortion inhibits recognition and treatment for women who experience psychological distress after abortion (PAD). This study identified the characteristics, severity, and treatment preferences of university students who experienced PAD. Of 151 females, 89 experienced an abortion. Psychological outcomes were compared among those who preferred or did not prefer psychological services after abortion to those who were never pregnant. All who had abortions reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and grief lasting on average 3 years. Yet, those who preferred services experienced heightened psychological trauma indicative of partial or full PTSD (Impact of Event Scale, M = 26.86 versus 16.84, p <‚ÄČ.05), perinatal grief (Perinatal Grief Scale, M 62.54 versus 50.89, p < 0.05), dysthymia (BDI M = 11.01 versus 9.28, p < 0.05), (M = 41.86 versus 39.36, p < 0.05), and co-existing mental health problems. PAD appeared multi-factorial, associated with the abortion and overall emotional health. Thus, psychological interventions for PAD need to be developed as a public health priority.

PMID:
23576135
DOI:
10.1007/s11414-013-9328-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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