Psychosocial Factors Influencing Attitude towards Abortion among Undergraduates in Nigeria

By Grace, Awopetu Ronke; Sunday, Fasanmi Samuel | Gender & Behaviour, December 2011 | Go to article overview

Psychosocial Factors Influencing Attitude towards Abortion among Undergraduates in Nigeria


Grace, Awopetu Ronke, Sunday, Fasanmi Samuel, Gender & Behaviour


Abstract

The study examines the psychosocial factors capable of influencing abortion among university undergraduates in Nigeria. Two hundred (200) students consisted of 63(31.5%) males and 137(68.5%) females participated in the survey. The study adopted ex-post facto design. Their age ranged between 16 to 40 years with mean age of 28. Six hypotheses were generated and tested and the results revealed that individuals with internal locus of control were not positively disposed towards abortion than individuals with external locus of control [t (198) = 1.37; P > .05]. The study further revealed that there is a significant effect of gender on attitude towards abortion among undergraduates {t (198) = 2.67; P < .05}; also, the study showed that individuals with high self-esteem were not significantly different in their attitude towards abortion than those with low self-esteem {t (198) = .192; P > .05}; the result went further to reveal that ethnic grouping has no significant influence on undergraduate students' attitude towards abortion (F (2,199) = 2.93; P> .05; and finally revealed that religion has significant effect on undergraduate students' attitude towards abortion (F (2,199) = 8.98; P< .05. It was recommended that Counsellors and teachers should make reproductive health knowledge available to students in tertiary institutions through the provision of sex education. Awareness programmes should be encouraged which will aim at highlighting the consequences of sexual promiscuity and abortion among Nigerian youths and there should be complete sanitization of moral laxity and other social vices of students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Key words: Psychosocial, Attitude, Abortion, Undergraduates, Nigeria

INTRODUCTION

Over the years, women have sought and used various means to terminate unwanted pregnancies. This led to the concept of induced abortion which is the extraction of a pregnancy before the age of viability (Cunningham, MacDonald, 8c Gant, 1997). Induced abortions evoke tremendous emotions due to its cultural and religious connotations. Reliable data on abortion and its complications is difficult to ascertain especially in areas with restrictive abortion laws (Ahiaedeke, 2001; World Health Organisation, 1993).

It is estimated that about 26-53 million induced abortions are carried out annually world-wide with 90% of these occurring in developing countries (Henshaw, 1998). Of these, an estimated 20 million are unsafe especially in countries with illegal abortion laws (World Health Organisation, 2002). Nigeria has an abortion ratio of 25 per 1000 women of reproductive age (World Health Organisation, 2002).

Abortion continues to be a highly contentious issue in most developed countries of the world, with few signs of abatement. Historical evidence mapping the past 30-40 years indicates that there has been variable interest in the abortion debate among assorted group with several placing at the forefront of their agendas. Isolating the key sub-issues in the abortion controversy is difficult. However, because it is a legal, political, and social issue that transcends many fundamental dimensions, including moral, familial, human rights and the variety views that exist in contemporary society. Abortion remains an enigma in our society. In brief, the struggle over abortion is a cultural issue par excellence. Not only this, it is highly symbolic, but, as a cultural marker it also cuts to the core of people's attitudes toward life, moral behaviour, and the fetter of freedom (Hunter, 1994, Dillon, 1995, 1996; Rudy, 1996; Russo and Denious,1998, 2001).

Each year, more than one million undergraduates become pregnant (Forrest, Goldman, Henshew, Lincoln, Rosaff, Westoff, Wurf, 1993). The rate of teenage pregnancy in U. S is more than twice as high as the rate in England, France, and Canada; almost three times as high in Sweden, and seven times as high in Netherlands (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1990). …

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