Abortion decision-making attitudes of adolescents attending Roman Catholic schools

by Crock, Rosemary J.

Abstract (Summary)
This exploratory study examines abortion decision-making attitudes of

adolescents attending Roman Catholic schools. With a theoretical background using both

cognitive-developmental theory and moral development theory, this study investigated

adolescent abortion decision-making attitudes with a multi-part paper and pencil survey.

The first part of the Abortion Attitude Scale consisted of a combination of the

seven General Social Survey (GSS) abortion questions, intermingled with seven

additional author-devised abortion questions. The second part of the survey consisted of

sixteen reality-based scenarios, each containing a high or low level of four dimensions.

The dimensions consisted of the four most common reasons for abortion females wrote

about in their online written testimonies about their actual abortion experiences. The four

dimensions were determined after the author conducted a frequency count of reasons for

abortion originating from 87 testimonies from pro-choice web sites and 82 testimonies

from pro-life web sites, plus phone calls to 8 pro-choice agencies and phone calls to 8

pro-life agencies.

The Abortion Attitude Scale was offered to a convenience sample of 8th through

12th graders attending the Topeka, Kansas Catholic Schools, which includes five

elementary schools and one high school. Written parental consent and written student

ascent were required for students to be eligible to participate in the study. A total of 350

students participated.

The study’s six hypotheses explored whether or not the combined GSS and

author-devised abortion questions are unidimensional; whether or not interaction effects

exist among the four dimensions in each of the scenarios; and how the independent

variables of gender, age, ethnicity, and intrinsic religiosity may impact adolescents’

abortion attitudes.

Results suggest several conclusions. The GSS and author-devised abortion

questions are multidimensional. Regarding the four dimensions used in each of the

scenarios, there were interaction effects among the four dimensions. Whereas the

adolescent female participants in this study did appear to be less accepting of abortion

than the male participants, and the adolescents with higher intrinsic religiosity appeared

to be less accepting of abortion, the hypotheses regarding younger age and greater ethnic

diversity did not appear to lend support to adolescents being less accepting of abortion.

The findings thus appear to show that this study’s participants had complex attitudes

about abortion decision-making, and that these attitudes appear to be at least somewhat


Implications for further studies are discussed, along with limitations and


Bibliographical Information:


School:Kansas State University

School Location:USA - Kansas

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:abortion decision making attitudes adolescents catholic schools education social sciences 0534 religion general 0318 sociology individual and family studies 0628


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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