Critique of a Research Article on Abortion and Mental Health


With the recent practical restrictions of several published reviews of abortion and mental health, a compound synthesis was formulated to represent more effectively the published literature and offer transparency to clinicians. The previous research studies had been accused of leaving important information leading to unsubstantiated records. Notwithstanding the legalization of abortion in the United States in 1973, Coleman, (2011), puts forward her question, ‘Is there a connection between abortion and mental health?’ However, her research contrasts the previous three reviews that did not involve selected criteria of persons with various mental problems. She aims to figure out the connection between abortion and indicators of unfavorable mental health with subgroup effects computed based on contrasting assemblies. She also aimed to evaluate population-attributable risk (PAR) figures for each result. She employed an experimentally based selection criteria and extracted rules to lessen the chances of bias. The sample comprised 22 studies, 36 measures of effect and 877 182 participants, of which 163,831 had the practice of abortion. Consequently, women who had undergone abortion experienced an 81% increased chance of mental health problems and 10% of the overall mental health problems in women.

Literature Review

There has been considerable debate on whether abortion has diverse effects on the mental health of women. The discussion led to the legalization of the practice in 1973. Women have continued to suffer various mental illnesses after the incident (Coleman, 2011). Hundreds of researches had been conducted on whether abortion led to the increased rates of mental health problems in women. Three of the authors of such studies indicated that abortion did not have any adverse effects on the mental health of women. In these studies, half of pregnancies in the U.S.A were termed as unintended amid adolescents and adults with more than 40 years of age. This reason provides the basis of Coleman’s literature review. The initial aim of the review was to carry out meta-analysis of connections between provoked abortion and unfavorable mental health consequences like depression, nervousness, substance abuse and suicidal actions. The outcomes were to be related with compassion to the use of different control assemblies employed in a number of investigations. The studies included cases of no abortion, unintended pregnancy delivered, and pregnancy delivered. However, the research was published in a journal between 1995 and 2009 due to the development of research designs (Coleman, 2011).

Relevance of the Research to the Existing Health Issues

The research is current because the health issues mentioned are the ones on the rise in the modern days. For example, abortion, which forms the largest portion of the investigation study, has been in various recent debates. This research formulated the cause for numerous mental problems brought about by substance abuse and suicidal conduct. Some people used bhang and relevant substances to prevent the pain associated with abortion. The substances used were found to be the main cause of mental problems (Coleman, 2011). From the manner in which the research was conducted and the ways used to arrive at the conclusion, the research can be used to investigate current health issues. This is due to the employment of practical analysis, which may in one way give accurate information, leading to accurate results and conclusions. The current health issues can only be formulated with the use of a quantitative analysis of the problems at various levels of society.

Evaluation of Research Methods

The method used to fulfill the objective of the research was Quasi-experimental. This was achieved by the use of variables in the calculation of the figures. The inclusion criteria, which included studies of the Medline databases helped to attain the requirements for the extraction and synthesis of the results. It was mandatory for the inclusion criteria to encompass a model of 100 or more partakers, use of a contrasting group, one or more mental health effect variables, management for third variables, and use of odd fractions to articulate effects experimented in order to aid in the evaluation of the PAR figures (Coleman, 2011).
The research sample used was appropriate as it did not follow individual methods. First rules of the inclusion criteria were followed to the latter. Secondly, there were rules for the extraction and synthesis of the results. The rules were derived from the preferred studies and carried out depending on the proposals highlighted by Lipsey (Coleman, 2011). This was performed to avoid overrepresentation of certain samples and statistical dependences. It also aimed to present neutral results from the individual investigations demonstrating remarkable inconsistency in exposure.
Statistical analysis was used to get the results. Meta-analysis was conducted using the improved windows 2.0 version. The random effects were evaluated depending on the socio-demographic heterogeneity of the research samples. The random effects model would aid in detecting the mistakes in the samples collected. A pooled odds ratio was brought forward to compute the full 36 effects that were extracted. On top of this, two subgroups of pooled odds were evaluated depending on the type of contrasting assembly used and the precise forms of mental health complications. Accustomed odds ratios for third variables were used in entire random effects meta-analyses. Finally, the PAR rates were computed with the use of the pooled odds ratio (Coleman, 2011).
The application of the inclusion criteria and observance of the rules mentioned earlier led to the formulation of the results. The results of the meta-analytic analysis together with information extorted from the 22 studies designated consistently that abortion was linked with reasonable to highly augmented mental dangers according to the process (Coleman, 2011). The results revealed that women who had undergone abortion had an 81% enlarged danger of mental complications, and almost 10% of the prevalence of mental health calamities was unswervingly brought about by abortion.

Women who had had an abortion were contrasted with women who had carried pregnancy to the required period. The results were connected to substance abuse and suicidal acts. Great care was taken from the procedural complicated studies, and the quantitatively based results replicated information assembled from more than three-quarters of a million women. Of more significance was the fact that all effects calculated were accustomed odds with controls of many third variables (Coleman, 2011). On the other hand, the results of the comparison of the abortion group, the unintended pregnancy delivered group, and the no pregnancy group had a closer degree. This conclusion challenged the earlier accepted belief that unintended pregnancy delivered represented was the most suitable control group for studies aimed to discover the effect abortion had on psychological health.

The methodological procedure is exceptional because each step is clearly defined. According to Coleman, (2011), the research results should be used to train healthcare personnel. They should be published in numerous health documents in order to serve as reference in the incidences of abortion. In addition, the results should serve as a warning to those with intentions of practicing abortion, since nobody would like to be associated with the complications brought about by the action. In my opinion, the research is applicable in health institutions. This is because the same institutions contribute to the widespread practice of abortion. If health workers would say no to the practice, then governments would definitely prohibit the incident. 

The mentioned research could be improved due to some limitations. This is pointed out by the solitary inclusion of a publication window, while the studies that did not incorporate a comparison group were not analyzed (Coleman, 2011). The research could also be improved with consistency in control variables, demographic traits of the samples, duration of time between the process and the follow-up tests, and substantial alteration in how the conclusions were considered. The writing in this article is clear and straightforward. Further research on this subject can be conducted with adjustment from the few areas of weakness. Several studies conducted by different authors did not arrive at a substantial conclusion about the problem that had for long affected numerous states. In our case, Coleman, (2011), was able to establish a portion of the issue.


This analysis has presented the largest quantitative estimation of psychological risks associated with abortion. The results revealed the increased rate of mental complexities due to abortion. The author did remarkable work which could be used in states to help in curbing the incident which brings about possible losses and additional calamities to the families affected. Substance abuse should be overlooked to lessen the chances of the incident. It is noted that the researcher made efforts to see that abortion, which had a greater impact on the psychological health of numerous women was not proven to be a proper action. The author also involves huge numbers of people in the research process in order to figure out the wide extent of abortion in many parts of the U.S. I hereby recommend the good work carried out by the researcher and the efforts made to go against the popular belief convoyed by unverified information.