Study of anxiety during consultation and assessment for
termination of pregnancy
Fertility Control Unit, St. James’s University Hospital,
Introduction: Studies have been conducted on the anxiety
levels of women pre and post abortion showing that stress levels during these
periods vary remarkably. However, we found no published studies stress levels
during consultation for termination of pregnancy in the English Literature.
Anxiety during consultation and assessment for termination of pregnancy may
adversely affect patients’ assimilation and understanding of information with
a consequent adverse effect on their ability to choose a particular method of
Aims and Methods: To ascertain the state anxiety levels
of women, during consultation for termination of pregnancy. Over a four-week
period, women requesting termination of pregnancy who were willing to
participate in the study filled a six-item short-form of the State-Trait Anxiety
inventory (STAI-6) scale. Demographic data was also obtained for each
Results: Forty-one women took part in the pilot study.
Majority of the participants were single and aged less than 25 years. The state
anxiety scores for the cohort of women ranged from 23 to 80 with a mean of 46.5.
Eighty-five percent of the participants had high anxiety levels during
Conclusions: Although this is only a pilot study, it
shows that a highly significant proportion of women requesting termination of
pregnancy endure a high level of stress during the consultation process. As this
can affect their ability to assimilate information during the consultation, it
is important that providers are aware of this phenomenon and take adequate steps
to minimise it.