Do Depression and Low Self-Esteem Follow Abortion Among Adolescents? Evidence from a National Study
Article first published online: 27 SEP 2010
Copyright © 2010 by the Guttmacher Institute
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Volume 42, Issue 4, pages 230–235, December 2010
How to Cite
Warren, J. T., Harvey, S. M. and Henderson, J. T. (2010), Do Depression and Low Self-Esteem Follow Abortion Among Adolescents? Evidence from a National Study. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 42: 230–235. doi: 10.1363/4223010
- Issue published online: 3 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 27 SEP 2010
CONTEXT: A 2008 report by the American Psychological Association found no evidence that an induced abortion causes mental health problems in adult women. No conclusions were drawn with respect to adolescents because of a scarcity of evidence.
METHODS: Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used to examine whether abortion in adolescence was associated with subsequent depression and low self-esteem. In all, 289 female respondents reported at least one pregnancy between Wave 1 (1994–1995) and Wave 2 (1996) of the survey. Of these, 69 reported an induced abortion. Population-averaged lagged logistic regression models were used to assess associations between abortion and depression and low self-esteem within a year of the pregnancy and approximately five years later, at Wave 3 (2001–2002).
RESULTS: Abortion was not associated with depression or low self-esteem at either time point. Socioeconomic and demographic characteristics did not substantially modify the relationships between abortion and the outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents who have an abortion do not appear to be at elevated risk for depression or low self-esteem in the short term or up to five years after the abortion.