Joke Vandamme


  • close

    Counselling: How do women
    feel about it? One of the differences regarding abortion laws
    worldwide, concerns the presence of a pre-
    abortion counseling session. The necessity of
    this counseling for women seeking first-trimester
    abortions has been extensively debated.
    Professionals often hold strong opinions on this

    issue while the opinion of clients themselves is
    not heard. Our study, performed in Flanders (i.e.
    the Northern part of Belgium), asked 971 women
    how they experienced this session. Results
    showed that despite initial resistance towards
    the session and high decisiveness regarding
    the abortion, women valued the counseling
    and felt significantly better afterwards. Besides
    making an informed decision, non-directive
    and client-centered counseling sessions - as
    they are organised in Flanders - can have other
    advantages for women seeking an abortion.
    Examples of these are: the provision of correct
    information about the procedure and its
    consequences, the consolidation of an already
    made decision, receiving emotional support for
    the choices made… As a result, we support the
    continuation of this pre-abortion counseling in
    Flanders, in addition to the existing medical care.

  • close

    Deciding on the method and location for induced abortion: a Flemish survey study

    Joke Vandamme1, Ann Buysse1, Inge Tency2, Guy T'Sjoen1 1University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium, 2KAHO Sint Lieven, Ghent, Belgium -

    Introduction The Belgian health insurance system prescribes that women who opt for medical abortion should stay at the abortion centre when using mifepristone and misoprostol. A lot of women currently decide for the more rapid surgical method under local anaesthesia. In this study, we map the process of deciding for one of the abortion methods along the different stages of information provision. Method. During a four month study period in four Flemish abortion centres, all Dutch-speaking adult women with a gestational period of less than 8 weeks were asked to participate. During the first visit, they were questioned about the sources they had consulted to get information on the abortion methods and were asked for their initial preference. Afterwards, they were shown a standardized videotape with accurate information on both methods and were asked for their preferences again. In a second video, women learned about the possibility of performimg the misoprostol phase at home and were questioned about their final preferences. Results. Preliminary results show that, when entering the abortion centre, the majority of women (>70%) preferred medical above surgical abortion. Most of the women (>60%) sought information on the official abortion centre website. However, one in three had visited other websites and one in four got information from external professionals. After the provision of standardized information, the percentage that prefers medical abortion drops to 50%. If the misoprostol at home option were available, only one in five would still prefer medical abortion with use of misoprostol in the abortion centre. Conclusion. Flemish women may have an inaccurate idea about the current medical abortion process. The misoprostol at home possibility would be a good alternative for the ones who would otherwise decide for the surgical method as well as for those preferring medical abortion.

  • close

    Distress and dyadic coping when opting for induced abortion: an interactional analysis within couples

    Joke Vandamme, Ann Buysse, Tom Loeys, Guy T'Sjoen University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium -

    Introduction. For decades, the psychosocial literature on induced abortion has focused on women's coping mechanisms. To date, little attention has been paid to the ways of dealing with an abortion decision from the male partner's point of view and no study has questioned how couples deal with it together. In this study, we investigate bidirectional relationships between dyadic coping mechanisms and both partners' emotional distress associated with the abortion decision. Method. In four Flemish abortion centres, Dutch speaking adult women with a gestational length of less than 8 weeks and their accompanying partners were asked to participate in a study on abortion method preferences (N=232 and 59 respectively). Both partners filled out a questionnaire in which the Dyadic Coping Inventory (DCI; Bodenmann, 2008), the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS; Watson et al., 1988) and the Impact of Event Scale (IES; Horrowitz et al., 1979) were included. The DCI measured received and provided positive and negative support, delegated dyadic coping (taking over responsibilities), common dyadic coping (dealing with the distress together), and satisfaction with the dyadic coping. The PANAS measured the presence of positive and negative feelings since one learned about the unintended pregnancy and the IES examined the degree of avoidance and intrusion since that moment. The Actor-Partner Interdependence Model will be used to investigate actor and partner effects of dyadic coping mechanisms. Results. Preliminary analyses show that the negative support that is provided to the partner is significantly affected by the negative support received from that partner, both for the abortion-seeking women as for their male partners. Detailed dyadic analyses and results will be discussed in the presentation. Conclusions. Partners can strengthen each other in negative support interactions during the unintended pregnancy situation. Counsellors should investigate the bidirectional coping process in couples who decide on induced abortion.