Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Abortion-Psychological aspects, Post-abortion syndrome-Treatment, Abortion, Abortion stigma, Post-abortion, Post-abortion emotional distress, Abortion mental health, Abortion interventions mental health, Empirical, Qualitative


This study was undertaken to explore the factors that contribute to emotional distress postabortion and interventions used to mitigate such distress. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 clinicians who had provided professional emotional care to women post-abortion and who had had one or more abortions themselves. Clinicians described their personal experiences with abortion and their process of healing from associated emotional distress, as well as the experiences of their patients and interventions that mitigated distress for their patients. Factors that protected against emotional distress post-abortion were explored, as were clinical practice issues that arose for participants in their professional roles. The findings of this study determined numerous factors that can contribute to emotional distress, mostly in accordance with the literature. Clinicians recommended a range of interventions that varied based on the nature of women's emotional distress but always included aspects of nonjudgmental support. The findings of this study also suggest that it is important for clinicians working with patients post-abortion to conduct an assessment to determine the cause(s) of emotional distress and the individual needs of the patient in order to develop and apply the most appropriate and effective interventions. These findings may contribute to establishing best practices in helping women heal from emotional distress that can occur in conjunction with the abortion experience




iii, 93 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-85)