Abortion attitudes in context: A multidimensional vignette approach

Jason D. Hans, Claire Kimberly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The effects of relationship status, rationale for considering abortion (life circumstance versus health issue), and the male partner's wishes on abortion attitudes were examined using a multiple-segment factorial vignette with a probability sample of 532 Kentucky households. Respondents expressed strong opinions in the absence of contextual details, yet many shifted the direction of their strongly-held positions once contextual information was revealed that challenged their initial assumptions. Results confirm and extend prior research by indicating that attitudes are strongly held but are simultaneously highly responsive to context. The validity of surveys and polls that attempt to measure global attitudes toward abortion, such as pro-choice versus pro-life, in the absence of contextual details is therefore questioned. The full context of one's life and situation is weighed in the abortion decision-making process, and our findings indicate that attitudes toward abortion are largely responsive and reflective of that context as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Abortion
  • Attitudes
  • Multiple-segment factorial vignette
  • Survey methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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