Psychological factors related to spontaneous and therapeutic abortion

Nathan M. Simon, David Rothman, Jan T. Goff, Audrey G. Senturia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Thirty-two women who had spontaneous abortions were studied by interviews and psychological testing and were compared to a group of 46 women who had therapeutic abortions. In contrast to the therapeutic abortion group, the spontaneous aborters demonstrated little in the way of serious psychopathology. However, in the spontaneous group those women who developed clinically significant depressive reactions did so at the time of the abortion, which was not the case in the therapeutic abortion group. Psychological tests indicated conflicts around sexual identity and sadomasochism in spontaneous aborters resembled but were not as severe as in the therapeutic abortion group. The evidence suggests that the pregnancy and abortion itself may be seen as a primary way of acting out unconscious sadomasochistic conflicts in spontaneous aborters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-808
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 15 1969


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