Personal Resilience, Cognitive Appraisals, and Coping: An Integrative Model of Adjustment to Abortion

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We hypothesized that the effects of personality (self-esteem, control, and optimism) on postabortion adaptation (distress, well-being, and decision satisfaction) would be fully mediated by preabortion cognitive appraisals (stress appraisals and self-efficacy appraisals) and postabortion coping. We further proposed that the effects of preabortion appraisals on adaptation would be fully mediated by postabortion coping. Results of a longitudinal study of 527 women who had first-trimester abortions supported our hypotheses. Women with more resilient personalities appraised their abortion as less stressful and had higher self-efficacy for coping with the abortion. More positive appraisals predicted greater acceptance/reframing coping and lesser avoidance/denial, venting, support seeking, and religious coping. Acceptance–reframing predicted better adjustment on all measures, whereas avoidance–denial and venting related to poorer adjustment on all measures. Greater support seeking was associated with reduced distress, and greater religious coping was associated with less decision satisfaction.

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