Studies - Depression / Suicide / Mental Health

Isolating the Effects of Abortion on Mental Health Problems (JPR, 11/08)

Study Shows Direct Link Between Abortion and Mental Health Problems
 
On 28 November08, an American study was published with the same general results:
"Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating the effects of abortion in the national comorbidity survey", Journal of Psychiatric Research, November 2008

 
A research study featuring numerous controls and a national data set finds a link between abortion and psychiatric disorders.

The study refutes the report the American Psychiatric Association released in August claiming abortion causes no mental health issues for women. The research team found induced abortions result in increased risks for a myriad of mental health problems ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders.
 
The number of cases of mental health issues rose by as much as 17 percent in women having abortions compared to those who did not have one and the risks of each particular mental health problem rose as much as 145% for post-abortive women.
 
For 12 out of 15 of the mental health outcomes examined, a decision to have an abortion resulted in an elevated risk for women.
 
"Abortion was found to be related to an increased risk for a variety of mental health problems (panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, major depression with and without hierarchy), and substance abuse disorders after statistical controls were instituted for a wide range of personal, situational, and demographic variables," they wrote.

 

"Calculation of population attributable risks indicated that abortion was implicated in between 4.3% and 16.6% of the incidence of these disorders," they concluded.
 
Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, led the research team that conducted the study.
 
Together with Catherine Coyle of Edgewood College, researcher Martha Shuping and psychologist Dr. Vincent Rue, they published their results online today at the Journal of Psychiatric Research, a well-established and respected journal.
 
The researchers found women who had abortions, compared with those who did not, had a 120% risk for alcohol abuse, with or without dependence, a 145% increased risk of alcohol dependence, 79% increased risk of drug abuse with or without dependence and a 126% increase in the risk of drug dependence.
 
For mood disorders, the experience of an abortion increased risk of developing bipolar disorder by 167%, major depression without hierarchy by 45% and major depression with hierarchy by 48%.
 
For anxiety disorders, there was a 111% increased risk for panic disorders, 44% increased risk for panic attacks, 59% increased risk for PTSD, 95% increased risk for agoraphobia with or without panic disorder and a 93% increased risk for agoraphobia without panic disorder.
 
There was no mental health outcome showing abortion to have decreased the risk or a high risk for women who did not have an abortion.
 
Some abortion advocates have dismissed the wealth of previous research on the link between abortion and mental health problems by saying factors unrelated to the abortion contributed to them. The scientists found abortion elevated the risks independently of those factors.
 
"The abortion variable made a significant independent contribution to more mental health outcomes than a history of rape, sexual abuse in childhood, physical assault in adulthood, physical abuse in childhood, and neglect which contributed to between four and ten different diagnoses," the scholars wrote.
 
"What is most notable in this study is that abortion contributed significant independent effects to numerous mental health problems above and beyond a variety of other traumatizing and stressful life experiences," they said.
 
Ultimately, the authors write that abortion is directly "responsible for more than 10% of the population incidence of alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse, drug dependence, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and bipolar disorder in the population."
 
The team also found that spontaneous abortions, or miscarriages, had an independent effect on 4 of the 15 psychiatric illnesses examined — indicating abortion is significantly more traumatic for women than a miscarriage.
 
The team relied on a nationally representative sample, the national comorbidity survey, which is widely recognized as the first nationally representative survey of mental health in the United States.
 
The team wrote that more research is needed to determine why having an abortion causes women to be more susceptible to the mental health problems.
 
Reference: Coleman PK et al., Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating the effects of abortion in the national comorbidity survey, Journal of Psychiatric Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2008.10.009.
[28 November 2008, Ertelt, LifeNews.com, Washington, DC]
 

Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating the effects of abortion in the national comorbidity survey
In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 28 November 2008
Priscilla K. Coleman, Catherine T. Coyle, Martha Shuping, Vincent M. Rue
[Coleman PK et al., Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating, Journal of Psychiatric Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2008.10.009]
 
Abstract
Using data from the United States National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS), we conducted secondary data analyses to examine the relationship of abortion, including multiple abortions, to anxiety after first pregnancy outcome in two studies. First, when analyzing the NSFG, we found that pre-pregnancy anxiety symptoms, rape history, age at first pregnancy outcome (abortion vs. delivery), race, marital status, income, education, subsequent abortions, and subsequent deliveries accounted for a significant association initially found between first pregnancy outcome and experiencing subsequent anxiety symptoms. We then tested the relationship of abortion to clinically diagnosed generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder, using NCS data. Contrary to findings from our analyses of the NSFG, in the NCS analyses we did not find a significant relationship between first pregnancy outcome and subsequent rates of GAD, social anxiety, or PTSD. However, multiple abortions were found to be associated with much higher rates of PTSD and social anxiety; this relationship was largely explained by pre-pregnancy mental health disorders and their association with higher rates of violence. Researchers and clinicians need to learn more about the relations of violence exposure, mental health, and pregnancy outcome to avoid attributing poor mental health solely to pregnancy outcomes.
 
 

Supportive counseling before and after elective pregnan…
Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health, Volume 49, Issue 2, March-April 2004,
Pages 105-112
Amy A. Harris
 
Abstract
Midwives
are likely to encounter women seeking care before or after an elective abortion. National estimates of abortion rates suggest that 43% of women in the United States will have at least one abortion by the time they are 45 years old. By not asking women about abortion experiences, providers risk perpetuating women’s guilt, shame, and silence. This article describes the emotional consequences of elective abortion, identifies women at high risk for negative reactions, and offers approaches to counseling about the psychosocial effects of abortion both before and after the procedure. Through the provision of counseling for women who have abortions, providers will be able to assist with coping, identify women who might be at greater risk for psychological sequelae, and offer referrals to those in need.
 
Purchase PDF (87 K)
 Women should be offered post-abortion psychological car…
The Lancet, Volume 372, Issue 9639, 23 August 2008-29 August 2008, Page 602
 
 
 
Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating the effects of abortion in the national comorbidity survey
 
Priscilla K. Coleman, Catherine T. Coyle,  Martha Shuping, Vincent M. Rue,
 
Received 8 September 2008;
revised 19 October 2008;
accepted 21 October 2008.
Available online 28 November 2008.
 
Abstract
 
The purpose of this study was to examine associations between abortion history and a wide range of anxiety (panic disorder, panic attacks, PTSD, Agoraphobia), mood (bipolar disorder, mania, major depression), and substance abuse disorders (alcohol and drug abuse and dependence) using a nationally representative US sample, the national comorbidity survey. Abortion was found to be related to an increased risk for a variety of mental health problems (panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, major depression with and without hierarchy), and substance abuse disorders after statistical controls were instituted for a wide range of personal, situational, and demographic variables. Calculation of population attributable risks indicated that abortion was implicated in between 4.3% and 16.6% of the incidence of these disorders. Future research is needed to identify mediating mechanisms linking abortion to various disorders and to understand individual difference factors associated with vulnerability to developing a particular mental health problem after abortion.
 
 
Coleman PK et al., Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating, Journal of Psychiatric Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2008.10.009.