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The implications of unintended pregnancies for mental health in later life

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Author(s)

Pamela Herd, Jenny Higgins, Kamil Sicinski, Irina Merkurieva

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Abstract

Despite decades of research on unintended pregnancies, we know little about the health implications for the women who experience them. Moreover, no study has examined the implications for women whose pregnancies occurred before Roe v. Wade was decided—nor whether the mental health consequences of these unintended pregnancies continue into later life. Using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, a 60-year ongoing survey, we examined associations between unwanted and mistimed pregnancies and mental health in later life, controlling for factors such as early life socioeconomic conditions, adolescent IQ, and personality. We found that in this cohort of mostly married and White women, who completed their pregnancies before the legalization of abortion, unwanted pregnancies were strongly associated with poorer mental health outcomes in later life.
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-429
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Volume106
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

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