The Influence of Social Context on Abortion Reporting in the National Survey of Family Growth

Isaac Maddow-Zimet , Guttmacher Institute
Laura Lindberg, Guttmacher Institute
Kate Castle, Guttmacher Institute

This study explores the influence of social context on the underreporting of abortion in the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). We hypothesize that the local climate around abortion may influence the likelihood that abortion is perceived by a respondent as a sensitive behavior, thus influencing reporting. We investigate this question through two complementary analyses using restricted data from the NSFG: at the aggregate level, we compare the number of abortions reported in the NSFG to complete counts of abortions available from the Guttmacher Institute’s Abortion Provider Census and examine variation by states’ levels of stigma; at the individual level, we examine to what extent state-level abortion stigma is associated with the likelihood that women and men who reported abortions in the audio computer assisted self-interviewing mode of the NSFG reported the same number in the computer assisted personal-interviewing mode, net of other demographic factors.

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 Presented in Session 1. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, & Reproductive Health 1