Depressive and post-traumatic stress symptoms following termination of pregnancy in South African women: A longitudinal study measuring the effects of chronic burden, crisis support and resilience
Background. Termination of pregnancy (TOP) remains a controversial issue, regardless of legislation. Access to services as well as psychological effects may vary across the world.
Objectives and methods. To better understand the psychological effects of TOP, this study describes the circumstances of 102 women who underwent a TOP from two socioeconomic sites in Johannesburg, South Africa, one serving women with few economic resources and the other serving women with adequate resources. The relationship between demographic characteristics, resilience and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression before, 1 month after and 3 months after the procedure was also examined.
Results. Time since TOP, age, chronic burden, resilience and the interaction of site with religion and site with chronic burden were significant. In addition, site differences were found for religion and chronic burden in predicting depression scores. Women from both sites had significant decreases in depression scores over time. The interaction of time with site was not significant. Higher chronic burden scores correlated with higher depression scores. No variables were significant in the bivariate analysis for PTSD.
Conclusion. Resilience, religion and chronic burden emerge as significant variables in women undergoing a first-trimester TOP, and warrant further assessment in studies of this nature.
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