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Novel research in abortion and mental health

Julia Steinberg, The Regents of the University of California, San Francisco, 2013

Project abstract

The training and research activities proposed in this Junior Investigator’s Career Development Award will expand my research program in abortion and mental health and set the stage for me to apply for a larger grant on this topic.

Over the next year, I propose to gain experience working with Danish Population Registries data and to hone my statistical skills in longitudinal analysis techniques. Training activities will include mentored, hands-on experience working with the Danish Registries data, participating in workshops on using the statistical software program SAS, and directed readings and tutorials with Consultant Dr. Charles McCulloch to learn about repeated measures logistic regression analysis and multivariate survival analysis.

Research activities will include using Danish Population Registries data to examine the association between abortion versus delivery and subsequent suicide and suicide attempts. In addition, I will explore the extent to which intra-individual changes in pregnancy outcomes influence post-pregnancy mental health indicators (e.g., psychiatric admissions, contacts with mental health specialists), a powerful approach never before used in this literature.

Mentors of these activities will include Dr. Nancy E. Adler at UCSF and Dr. Thomas M. Laursen at The National Centre for Register-based Research at Aarhus University in Denmark. Dr. Adler will provide mentoring on analyses to conduct and interpretation of findings and general career advice. Dr. Laursen will provide guidance on working with the Danish Population Registries data.

Findings will inform clinical practice and policies, such as those requiring women are told that abortion increases their risk of suicide or suicidal behavior.

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