Unintended pregnancy among Christian women : the influence of religious factors and educational goals in resolution decisions and post-pregnancy adjustment
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This study examined the impact of Christian devoutness, church attendance, belief in scripture, moral opposition to abortion, and educational goals on unintended pregnancy resolution decisions and subsequent mental health outcomes of adolescent and young adult Christian women. Findings indicated that religiosity variables predict the likelihood of various resolution decisions, in that those who believe in the accuracy of scripture and those who are highly devout are less likely to terminate an unintended pregnancy, while those attending church more frequently are more likely to terminate. Those who are highly devout are more likely than their less-devout peers to marry prior to giving birth. Educational goals moderate these relationships and weaken the influence of Christian devoutness and moral opposition to abortion in predicting the decision to terminate an unintended pregnancy. Those who terminate a pregnancy in spite of moral objections to such a decision reported increased depressive symptomology at follow-up. These findings suggest that decisions regarding unintended pregnancy are complex, influenced by a variety of social, moral, and lifestyle considerations. The present study has implications for the refinement of pre-abortion counseling protocol, as well as for teachers, religious leaders, and institutions who work with young Christian women.
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