“A Narrative Intervention to Decrease Abortion Stigma”
Abortion stigma is pervasive in the United States. It operates across multiple levels, including the individual, community, and structural. While abortion itself does not cause mental health problems, due to stigma, women who undergo abortion are at risk of suffering negative psychological responses including thought suppression and isolation, which can result in psychological distress. Few intervention studies have addressed abortion stigma. Research in other disciplines, in particular mental health, has demonstrated the importance of self-validation in improved coping. Drawing from psychologists' use of writing in cognitive therapy and the discipline of Narrative Medicine's emphasis on narrative as a mechanism of healing, the proposed study attempts to test a novel intervention to reduce individual level abortion stigma. The study will be a randomized controlled trial evaluating a narrative intervention to reduce individual level abortion stigma. The principal research question is: can a narrative intervention that aims to positively frame the abortion experience decrease individual level abortion stigma? An additional research question is: will women who take part in a narrative intervention to reduce abortion stigma have improved psychological responses to the abortion? Women in the intervention group will view a digital story on a tablet intending to provide education and normalization and then respond to a writing prompt aimed at cognitive restructuring. The control group will receive care as usual.
Behavioral - Narrative Intervention
Participants in the intervention group will first view a digital story on a tablet with headphones that will combine a fictional patient's abortion story with basic medical and social facts regarding abortion. After viewing the narrative, participants will be asked to write a narrative either on a tablet provided or on paper with the prompt: "Patients have different thoughts and feelings about their experiences when they have this procedure. Tell a story (about yourself or someone else, real or ...read more on ClinicalTrials.org
A Narrative Intervention to Decrease Individual Level Abortion Stigma: A Randomized Controlled Trial