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August 2000

Abortion and the Null Hypothesis

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000;57(8):785-786. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.57.8.785

THE RESEARCH reported by Major et al1 is consistent with other well-designed studies of psychological responses of women who have undergone first-trimester abortion. They found that while some women report regret and/or experience psychological problems following an abortion, the majority are satisfied and feel that they benefitted from the abortion. More importantly, rates of psychological dysfunction, including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are no higher than those in general populations of same-aged women. Their research is an advance over past studies in that the reasearchers did follow-up on women for 2 years after the abortion, used standardized measures of depression and of PTSD, and had a large sample. It adds further backing for the earlier conclusion of an expert panel convened by the American Psychological Association that abortion is generally "psychologically benign."2

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