Abortions in the United States: Are there psychological consequences for adolescents?
Dominique Balan; Michael Olubusayo Akintayo (Ph.D)

Purpose: Objectives: The aim of this paper is to identify the psychological effects of abortions in adolescents in the United States. Problem Statement: According to the literature, since the 1990s, abortion rates in the U. S have been declining. However, rates of abortion for poor and minority women remain high. In fact, the rates have increased for black women and black teenagers. While abortions offer a solution to an unintended and unwanted pregnancy, the adverse mental health effects associated with abortions can be troubling for adolescents who are incapable of dealing with the psychological consequences or do not have the resources to seek help. While there are numerous studies showing a risk for negative psychological sequelae in abortion patients, especially adolescents, there is controversy surrounding the claim that abortions pose a risk for psychological harm. Method: The literature search for academic articles in peerreviewed journals on the subject of negative psychological effects of abortions in adolescents in the United States was conducted using terms “abortion,” “adolescents,” “psychological health,” “abortion,” “adolescents,”“emotional health,” “abortion,” “depression,” “abortion,” “teens,” “health outcomes” in databases such as EBSCO, MEDLINE, Academic Search Complete, and SCOPUS. A total of 15 articles were included in this review. Results: Studies have shown an association between abortions and psychological sequelae. Some studies indicate that women who have abortions are at risk of developing psychological problems like depression and anxiety after the procedure, and adolescents may be at a greater risk for these effects. The psychological effect can be both short-term and long-term. On the other hand, other studies have shown no association between abortions and psychological sequelae. While the controversy around this claim continues, in the meantime, there are clinical implications that need to be addressed. Conclusion: Though we cannot say that abortions lead to psychological problems, it is evident that there are some women who are affected psychologically after an abortion. Thus, additional studies are needed for additional evidence and possible explanations as to why some women are at greater risk than others. In addition, if evidence is showing that abortion patients are at risk for negative psychological outcomes, there needs to be policy enacted to address the care that women receive after abortions to address and help anyone who may need counseling care.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v3n2a6