Developing a Scale to Measure Abortion Stigma and Evaluate Community-Based Stigma-Reduction Interventions

Kristen M. Shellenberg, Ipas
Leila Hessini, Ipas
Brooke A. Levandowski, Ipas

Abortion stigma is a complex issue, and understanding its manifestation and perpetuation is challenging. Utilizing a framework of interrelated components - labeling, stereotyping, separating and discriminating – that work together to produce and sustain social stigma, we set out to furthering our understanding of abortion stigma at the community level in Zambia and Ghana. Using a sequential mixed-methods design, we explored the context of abortion stigma through focus group discussions and then used the findings to develop items for a scale to measure abortion stigma that can also be used in the design and evaluation of community-based stigma reduction interventions. We will present our finalized scale and the associations between stigma and age, gender, marital status, educational attainment and religious affiliation. The development of a validated stigma scale will provide an invaluable tool for measuring abortion stigma, and represents an important contribution to the field of reproductive health.

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Presented in Session 69: Abortion