Beliefs about the fetus as a moderator of postabortion adjustment
Conklin, Mary Patricia D.
Master of Arts
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether women who have had abortions report different levels of well-being than women who have not had abortions, and to examine the possible moderating effect of perceived status of the fetus. We hypothesized that women who have had abortion(s) and who believe the fetus is human will have a more difficult postabortion adjustment than women who believe the fetus is less than human. We also hypothesized that women who have had abortions would consider maternal-related facets of their self-concepts less important than would women who have not had abortions in order to preserve their self-esteem. Subjects were obtained through physician's offices and were categorized into three pregnancy history groups: the Abortion Group (N=132), the Never Pregnant Group (N=209), and the Other Outcomes Group (N=476). The scales used to measure well-being were: The Satisfaction with Life Scale, Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and a scale measuring 12 specific facets of the self-concept The Beliefs About the Fetus Scale, devised by the authors, measured the women's perceived status of the fetus. It was found that women in the Abortion group reported slightly lower well-being than women in the Other Outcomes Group. It was also found that women who have had abortions and who tended to believe the fetus was human scored lower on measures of well-being than the women who tended to believe the fetus was not human, whereas the women who did not believe the fetus was human were no different on the well-being measures than the other two groups. The implications of these findings and their relationships with previous research findings are discussed.