Monday, May 03, 2010

Linked: Abortion and Substance Abuse

Researchers from Winnipeg University have found that women who have had an abortion are almost 4 times as likely to have problems with drugs or alcohol when compared to women who haven't had an abortion. No casual relationship was established.
The study did not demonstrate whether women who have abortions are more prone to develop substance abuse problems or whether women with such problems are more likely to have abortions.

"These are associations only," said Natalie Mota, a PhD student in the U of M's clinical psychology department who co-authored the study along with Margaret Burnett and Jitender Sareen. "Further research needs to look at the different factors that might be playing a part."

Mota said the study, published in the April issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, found that women who had abortions were 3.8 times more likely to have substance use disorders than those who had not, even when an exposure to violence -- which increases the odds of substance abuse -- was factored in.

The study also found connections between abortion and other mental health conditions like mood disorders, but substance use disorders showed the strongest link.

Previous studies in this area have found similar links, but Mota said the U of M study used a larger and more representative sample of women than any before it. She said the results show more research is needed to try to further explore the link between abortion and mental health and perhaps sort out some of the causal relationships.

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