Effects of Abortion on Mental Health

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1454 words
University of Richmond
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Critical thinking
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Research to Determine the Characteristics and Severity of Psychological Distress after Abortion among University Students by Curley and Johnstone

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The researchers sought to establish the occurrence, accompanying symptoms, their severity, and the factors that lead to post-abortion psychological distress in university students who chose to get post-abortion psychological follow-up services. Post-abortion counseling and behavioral interventions were deemed appropriate, but no research had been done to demonstrate the effectiveness of the practice. A Curley and Johnstones hypothesis was to prove that over 30% of students experienced Post-Abortion Depression (PAD) and would like to have a psychological follow-up. The hypothesis also stated that depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are more in individuals who procured an abortion and preferred having psychological services than those who had no such services. They also hypothesized that there is a higher incidence of PTSD and postnatal grief in the group that procured an abortion in need of psychological support services, unlike the others who had an abortion and did not want any psychological services. Also, some symptoms of PAD may be modifiable. The last hypothesis by Curley and Johnstone was that young age, less duration post-abortion, and undergoing many abortions led to a higher incidence of PAD.

The research design used in this case was an ex-post facto descriptive design which compared the psychological outcome for students from three universities. Convenience sampling method helped to obtain individuals who had an abortion and were willing to disclose about their experience. Likewise, those who were never pregnant were separately selected. The study compared three groups based on whether the students desire to have counseling follow-up which was the independent variable. The dependent variables were the experience of despair and apprehension among the three individual clusters and the incidence of PTSD and perinatal grief for those who had aborted. The students classified themselves in groups of three consisting of those who preferred post-abortion treatment and those who didnt wish to have any treatment. The third was the control group that was made up of individuals who had never been and no mental follow-up. They used MANCOVA at a power of 0.80 to determine the sample size. The results cannot apply in predicting future outcomes given that convenience sampling was used to obtain the respondents.

The researchers were able to get answers for the entire hypothesis they had formulated. The study discovered that over a half of those who aborted would prefer post-abortion counseling services, unlike the estimated thirty percent. PAD was associated with multiple factors in the group that procured an abortion ranging from the stress of unintended pregnancy to the experience of abortion and underlying mental conditions. The psychological trauma symptoms were found to be moderate to severe, even years after the experience in the individuals who preferred to have mental services post-abortion. The signs of perinatal grief were in the most distressed people unlike in those who did not prefer getting psychological services. PAD also associated with the presence of coexisting mental health conditions in the individuals who preferred post-abortion counseling, unlike the two other groups.

The students who had procured an abortion were found to have experienced symptoms of PTSD which were distinct and persistent. The study by Curley and Johnstone had various implications for both practice and future studies. The healthcare professionals are obliged to offering post-abortion psychological follow-up care services if they want them. The observation of the serious target symptoms in post-abortion clients took place hence interventions need to be developed to help these individuals. Changes also need to be formulated in the healthcare system to incorporate activities like screening, monitoring, and prevention of the distressing post-abortion symptoms. Limitations of the study were that it would have been better to use a revised version of Impact of Event Scale version. Viewing the embryo before an abortion could be a subcategory within the selected sample and convenience sample was not entirely representative. The authors did not disclose the source of funding for the research.

Research to determine Mental Health Diagnoses 3 Years after Receiving or Being Denied an Abortion in the United States by M. Antonia Biggs, Ph.D., John M. Neuhaus, Ph.D., and Diana G. Foster, PhD

The article on Biggs and others research reports on the first three years of a five-year research to examine the mental and emotional consequences of denial or approval of an abortion. The study evaluated the diagnosis with mental disorders mostly depression or anxiety at any point after seeking an abortion. The researchers did not formulate any hypothesis for the study and used just the objective of assessing the prevalence of newly diagnosed depression and anxiety disorders. Limitations of the study are that the researchers evaluated the occurrence of psychological symptoms five points within a two-year period hence some significant symptoms between an interview or past the two years could have been missed. The study also did not assess how unusual the symptoms were or other factors that could have caused the diagnosis of anxiety or depression. The study had a low participation rate of less than 40 percent which does not concur with the survey standards.

Biggs and others conducted a prospective longitudinal telephone interview study of how procuring or being denied the service of getting an abortion affected women mentally, physically and socially. Classification of the women was by the near-limit abortion group, the turn away group and the first-trimester group who were used as a control group since most abortions occur in the first trimester. The study enrolled women aged 15 years and above who fall in the three categories and needed abortion care from 2008 to 2010 in 30 health facilities whose fetus had no anomalies. Structured interviews were administered to the participants semiannually via telephone.

The researchers found out that women who sought an abortion in the first trimester were at a higher risk for rising anxiety and depression symptoms unlike those in the near limit group. The turn away group who decided to seek for abortion services elsewhere after being denied obtaining one also showed an increased risk of the development of self-diagnosed depression and anxiety. The two groups of women who procured an abortion and those who carried the pregnancy to term had increased probability of reporting a self-diagnosis of abortion within the first year post seeking abortion care. Funding of the research was through grants from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and an anonymous foundation.

Research to Determine Posttraumatic Stress and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after Termination of Pregnancy and Reproductive Loss: A Systematic Review by Vilt Daugirdait, Olga van den Akker, and Satvinder Purewal

Daugirdaite and others conducted a systematic review to evaluate the occurrence of PTSD or post-traumatic stress (PTS) after a person terminates a pregnancy and any other reproductive loss. The aim of the research was to integrate other studies on PTS and PTSD after a reproductive loss. It did not formulate a hypothesis to prove. The researchers wanted to reconcile work done regarding the associated conditions after a reproductive loss and compile a review and also determine the factors associated with the development of PTS and PTSD. The researchers used electronic databases to search for the relevant articles using the keywords. They selected studies that investigated PTS or PTSD published in peer-reviewed journals. They used a data extraction sheet to obtain the needed information which was assessed with VD to determine the quality of the articles. There were 142 papers and 48 studies in total that met the inclusion criteria. The studies analyzed by these researchers used prospective designs with smack sample sizes.

12.6 percent of individuals experienced a PTSD after nonmedical termination of pregnancy and 12.5% for women with a prior miscarriage, but the prevalence was low in women who had no previous reproductive loss. Reports of PTS were very high after a medical termination of pregnancy at 64.5%, and the rate decreases with time after procuring an abortion. One study found that PTSD gets rarely reported following a miscarriage. It discovered that PTSD is initially high in the experience of perinatal loss. The incidence of PTSD after a stillbirth was at 21% in the third trimester of the subsequent pregnancy. There is no evidence of results showing the prevalence of PTS or PTSD after failed in-vitro fertilization. Therefore, PTSD results after medical or nonmedical abortion, miscarriage, perinatal loss, and stillbirth. The prevalence of PTS was higher than PTSD after a reproductive failure in all the studies. The limitation of the survey is that most of the papers used relied on online data reviews where samples were non-representative. The researchers obtained funding from an ERASMUS Internship scholarship. Given that the study is a review of many other studies, the results can be used to care for the psychological needs of clients after a reproductive loss.

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