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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relationship of perceived maternal conflict to grief intensity in a genetically indicated abortion Mighton, Jane Diane


The incidence of congenital anomalies or potential congenital anomalies of fetuses is two to three percent. Most women who have a positive diagnosis of a congenital anomaly choose to terminate the pregnancy. A review of the literature identifies conflict preabortion and grief postabortion as key variables for women terminating pregnancies for genetic indications. The purpose of this study was to study the degree of conflict in the decision-making process preabortion and the intensity of grief six weeks postabortion and to determine if a relationship exists between the conflict and grief variables. This was a descriptive, correlational study which used summary statistics to analyze the data. Women responded to a questionnaire six weeks postabortion about conflict experienced pretermination and current grief experienced. The sample included nine women who aborted in the second trimester of pregnancy following either ultrasound, chorionic villi sampling, or alpha-fetoprotein analysis of the fetus. The findings indicated that the women experienced conflict while deciding whether or not to abort the fetus and that at six weeks posttermination the intensity of grief experienced was still high. A scatter plot revealed a curvilinear relationship showing grief plateauing and then decreasing as the conflict scores rose. Recommendations were that objective counselling in the decision-making period prior to the termination be provided, and grief counselling should continue longer than six weeks posttermination for those who need counselling.

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