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Voluntary termination of pregnancy: Psychological adjustment to decision-making and experience of induced abortion.

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Author(s): Maryse Guedes

Journal: Acta Obstetrica e Ginecologia Portuguesa
ISSN 1646-5830


ABSTRACT
Introduction: Voluntary termination of pregnancy has for a long time been a controversial theme. Few studies have been conducted in this context and they are frequently contaminated by methodological, theorical, ideological and legal biases, and no consensus exists regarding its psychological impact. This study aims to evaluate the psychological adjustment to decision-making and to the experience of voluntary termination of pregnancy. Methods: The sample was collected in a tertiary care university hospital, and consisted of 53 women who requested termination of pregnancy, between December 2007 and March 2008. Self-reporting instruments were used to assess women's feelings before termination, and two to four weeks later.Results: The decision to terminate pregnancy involved many motivations, but the majority were of a socio-economical nature. It also generated negative emotional reactivity (anxiety and guilt) and psychopatology (somatization, anxiety, hostility and depression), that were significantly different to those of the general population. Respondents also experienced less happiness and more guilt than the general population. However, when compared to the moment of decision-making, resposes after voluntary termination of pregnancy evidenced an increase in happiness and a decrease in anxiety. Discussion: Our results tend to support the model of stress and coping as the predominat psychological adaptation to voluntary termination of pregnancy.

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