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Tijdschr Psychiatr. 2018;60(8):527-535.

[Abortion and the risk of mental disorders].

[Article in Dutch]


Research into the potential mental health consequences of abortion yields inconsistent results and is characterized by methodological limitations.<br /> AIM: To offer a more conclusive insight into women's mental health after an abortion by stringently taking both pre-abortion mental health and confounding covariates into account.<br /> METHOD: A prospective longitudinal cohort study, the Dutch Abortion and Mental Health Study (DAMHS), through which women with and without abortion experiences could be compared. The study was designed in a similar way to the large scale Dutch population study into mental health of the Trimbos Institute, the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 (NEMESIS-2).<br /> RESULTS: Women who had an abortion were significantly more likely to have had previous DSM-IV mental disorders. Psychiatric history appeared to be associated with how women experienced and handled the unwanted pregnancy and abortion. A prior history of mental disorders, averse recent life events or an unstable partner relationship increased the risk of developing post abortion mental disorders, while experiencing an abortion did not.<br /> CONCLUSION: Women who have had an abortion more often have a history of mental disorders, yet there is no evidence that an abortion in itself would increase the risk of developing a mental disorder.

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