Born unwanted. Observations from the Prague Study

Am Psychol. 2003 Mar;58(3):224-9. doi: 10.1037/0003-066x.58.3.224.


The authors followed 220 children born in 1961-1963 to women twice denied abortion for the same pregnancy in Prague (Czech Republic) and 220 pair-matched controls, whose mothers were pair-matched for age and socioeconomic status and the partner's presence in the home. They were medically, psychologically, and socially assessed at ages 9, 14-16, 21-23, 30, and 35. Although differences in psychosocial development between the unwanted study participants and pair-matched controls were not dramatic and changed over time, the differences were consistently in disfavor of the unwanted pregnancy participants. When siblings were used as controls, the findings supported the hypothesis that being born from an unwanted pregnancy is a risk factor for poor mental health in adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Czech Republic / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology*
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / statistics & numerical data*