A Qualitative Exploration of Experiences in Faith-Based Post-Abortion Care

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Title: A Qualitative Exploration of Experiences in Faith-Based Post-Abortion Care
Authors: VanLeeuwen, Katherine
Abstract: Despite the vast number of abortions occurring each year, minimal research exists to inform best practices for supporting individuals experiencing distress after an abortion. The aim of this study was to provide a fuller understanding of the experience of individuals who have sought spiritual/religious help for post-abortion distress, including what was helpful to them and what they wanted mental health professionals to know. The purposive sample of participants included one man and three woman who had participated in Rachel’s Vineyard retreats (interdenominational Christian post-abortion healing retreats) in the Ottawa area. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews in 2019. The three interviews with each participant covered: (a) participants’ life history relating to spirituality/religion and the pre-/post-abortion experience leading up to the retreat; (b) their experience during and after the retreat; and (c) how they understood the meaning of the retreat and their suggestions for mental-health professionals. Prior to the interviews, the researcher attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat to gain a foundational understanding of the experience that the participants were asked to describe. After the interviews, the participants reviewed the results, providing additional reflections and clarifications to enhance the rigor of the study. Data analysis employed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the interviews. The results contributed to mapping the intertwined physical, psychological, social, and spiritual/religious trajectories of post-abortion distress and healing. These trajectories aligned with four models of interpretation: disenfranchised grief and distress; moral injury; trauma and post-traumatic growth; and feeling hopeless and unlovable. The application of these models of interpretation and the participants’ recommendations may allow clinicians to become better informed and able to address clients’ post-abortion needs.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/42966
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-27183
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses
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