Abortion Knowledge and Attitudes Among Psychologists and Graduate Students

Debra Mollen, Candice Hargons, Elyssa M. Klann, Della V. Mosley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Abortion is often misunderstood and steeped in misinformation. Laypeople and medical professionals tend to have limited abortion knowledge. Among the public, individuals who hold accurate information about abortion are more likely to endorse pro-choice attitudes than individuals who are misinformed. We explored knowledge of, and attitudes toward, abortion among 142 psychologists and graduate students. Participants responded accurately, on average, to 68% of the items on a true–false measure of abortion knowledge. In addition, participants with higher levels of accurate knowledge were more likely to endorse pro-choice attitudes. Participants were especially likely to incorrectly answer items related to the prevalence, availability, and current legality of abortion in the United States. Analyzing qualitative interviews with a subset of 13 participants, we generated four themes related to knowledge and attitudes about abortion: Assuming Proficiency Despite Minimal Training, Pursuing Outside Knowledge and Training, Framing Abortion Around Identities, and Perceiving and Experiencing Consequences from Abortion Attitudes. Implications for training are delineated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-760
Number of pages23
JournalCounseling Psychologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • abortion
  • attitudes
  • knowledge
  • psychologists
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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