All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Fred Biasini

Advisory Committee Members

Sylvie Mrug

Kristi Guest

Snehal Khatri

Nathaniel Robin

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2011

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to examine several factors and their contri-butions to termination decisions and address limitations associated with previous re-search. Specifically, type of prenatally diagnosed disorder, perception of parenting, atti-tude toward abortion, attachment, religiosity, and attitude toward disabled persons were examined as predictors of the decision to terminate pregnancy. Also, the role of familiari-ty with persons having developmental disabilities was explored as a covariate. In addi-tion, priming effect of labeled disorders was investigated. Participants (N = 144) were college students aged 19 - 56 years (M = 22.07, SD = 6.62). Participants completed the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised question-naire, Abortion Attitudes Survey, Religiosity Measure, Scale of Attitudes toward Dis-abled Persons, and a Disability Implicit Associations Task. Participants were asked to read a series of vignettes describing presentation and prognosis of Down syndrome, Fra-gile X, spina bifida, and no disability and asked to rate the likelihood they would consider terminating each condition following prenatal diagnosis. Participants were randomly assigned to receive labeled vignettes with the names of the disorders or non-labeled vignettes with identical descriptions of presentation and prognosis. Participants also reported demographic information, relationship/sexual history, and were asked several questions to assess their familiarity with persons with developmental disorders. Results suggest a greater pro-life attitude toward abortion and more favorable perceptions of parenting are associated with decreased likelihood of termination of preg-nancies with prenatally diagnosed disabilities. Additionally, some evidence suggested unfavorable attitude toward individuals with disabilities, stigma (labeled disabilities), and greater attachment anxiety may be related to an increased likelihood to endorse termina-tion for pregnancies with prenatal diagnoses of disabilities. Overall, no differences in li-kelihood of termination were observed among the different disabilities (Down syndrome, Fragile X, and spina bifida) and religiosity was found to be unrelated.. Limitations, future directions, and implications are discussed.

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