Generalized anxiety following unintended pregnancies resolved through childbirth and abortion: a cohort study of the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth

J Anxiety Disord. 2005;19(1):137-42. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2003.12.003.


The psychological consequences of induced abortion are complex and subject to both considerable controversy and methodological criticisms. While many women report feelings of relief immediately after the procedure, others report feelings of anxiety, which they attribute to their abortions. The purpose of the present study was to examine risk of generalized anxiety following unintended pregnancies ending in abortion or childbirth using a large representative sample of American women. Among all women, those who aborted were found to have significantly higher rates of subsequent generalized anxiety when controlling for race and age at interview. Implications of the findings are discussed. In particular, findings highlight the clinical relevance of exploring reproductive history in therapeutic efforts to assist women seeking relief from anxiety.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parturition / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires