Born unwanted: 35 Years later

Henry P. David, Transnational Family Research Institute
Zdenek Matejcek, Prague Psychiatric Center

Unique circumstances made it possible to organize, conduct, and continue for over 30 years a study of 220 children born in 1961-63 in Prague (Czech Republic) to women whose request for termination of an unwanted pregnancy was twice denied (once on initial request and again on appeal) and 220 pair-matched controls born to women who accepted their pregnancy and did not request an abortion. The matching criteria included age and sex of the child, same school class, mother's age, number of children in the family, birth order, and socioeconomic status. All the children were born into complete families. Findings will be presented from medical, psychological, and sociological assessments at ages 9, 14-16, 21-23, 30, and 35. To control for possible confounding effects, siblings were included in the fourth and fifth follow-up waves. Being born from an unwanted pregnancy entails an increased risk for negative psychosocial development and mental well-being.

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Presented in Session 59: Induced abortion (1)