Relationship between perceived stigma and depressive symptomatology in women who legally interrupt pregnancy in Mexico City

Midiam Moreno López, Karla Flores Celis, Catalina González-Forteza, María Teresa Saltijeral, Raffaela Schiavon, María Elena Collado, Olivia Ortiz, Luciana Ramos Lira

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17711/SM.0185-3325.2019.004

Abstract


Introduction. Although the international literature suggests that women who interrupt a pregnancy in safe conditions do not develop mental health problems, it continues to be a highly stigmatized issue by broad social sectors. It is therefore not surprising that abortion stigma is one of the main factors associated with the presence of mental health problems in women who abort voluntarily. This study explores the association between perceived abortion stigma and depressive symptomatology.

Method. In a non-probabilistic convenience sample, 114 users of a Legal Interruption of Pregnancy Clinic in Mexico City were interviewed with a structured instrument.

Results. Respondents obtained low scores of internalized stigma and reported feeling confident that they had made the right decision to terminate their pregnancies, and at peace with themselves. The highest scores for abortion stigma were reported in the group with high depressive symptomatology, with no statistically significant differences being observed due to the sociodemographic characteristics explored. The participants in this study were more concerned about what others might think about their decision to terminate a pregnancy and about how their abortion might affect their relationship with them.

Discussion and conclusion. These concerns highlight the need to reduce the negative social stigma surrounding abortion and to provide interventions in the same direction among women who interrupt a pregnancy legally in order to reduce the risk of mental health problems such as depression.

Keywords


Induced abortion; abortion stigma; depressive symptoms; pregnancy interruption

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