- Prevalence and prediction of re-experiencing and avoidance after elective surgical abortion: A prospective study
- Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
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- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Objective: This study investigated short-term re-experiencing and avoidance after elective surgical abortion. In addition, it was prospectively investigated whether peritraumatic dissociation and pre-abortion dissociative tendencies and alexithymia predict re-experiencing and avoidance.
Method: In a prospective observational design, Dutch-speaking women presenting for fi rst trimester elective surgical abortion completed self-report measures for dissociative tendency and alexithymia. Peritraumatic dissociation was measured immediately post-abortion. Re-experiencing and avoidance were measured 2 months post-abortion.
Results: Participants reported moderately elevated levels of reexperiencing and avoidance that exceeded a clinical cut-off point for 19.4% of the participants. Peritraumatic dissociation predicted intrusion and avoidance at 2 months. In addition, avoidance was predicted by the alexithymic aspect of diffi culty describing feelings.
Conclusions: Reexperiencing and avoidance after elective surgical abortion represent a
signifi cant clinical problem that is predicted by peritraumatic dissociation and alexithymia. Psychological screening and intervention might be a useful adjunct to elective abortion procedures.
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