Thirty-five percent of a sample of 413 women undergoing first-trimester abortions were repeating abortions. All patients rated their emotional symptoms on an SCL-90 scale and completed a brief demographic questionnaire. Preabortion and postabortion emotional distress factors and associated demographic characteristics were compared for women having first and those undergoing repeat abortions. Elevated distress levels were similar in both groups prior to abortion procedures, particularly depression, anxiety, and somatization. After abortion, repeat aborters continued to have significantly higher emotional distress scores in dimensions relating to interpersonal relationships. The variables that discriminated most between first and repeat abortion groups were number of living children, race, and phobic anxiety.
© 1980 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists