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Trends and patterns in the attitudes of the public toward legal abortion in the United States, 1972-1978.
Research in Nursing and Health. 1985 Sep; 8(3):219-225.The attitudes of the public toward legal abortion in the US were studied for the period 1972-78. Purposes of the study were to: 1) analyze the trends and patterns in attitudes toward legal abortion in that period; 2) assess the possible effect of selected demographic, socioeconomic, religious, and fertility variables on attitudes towards legal abortion; and 3) determine the relationship between attitudes toward abortion and attitudes toward selected related issues such as premarital sex, sex education in public schools, birth control for teens and for anyone who desires it, and woman's role in the home, business, and politics. The independent variables found to have an effect on attitude toward abortion were: age, sex, marital status, geographic region, size of place, education, occupational prestige, women's employment status, religious preference, denomination, strength of religious preference, frequence of attendance at religious services, number of siblings, number of children, number of children expected in the future, and ideal family size. The data were drawn from the General Social Surveys (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center each year between 1972-78. A total of 10,652 respondents completed the interviews. Attitudes toward abortion were derived from combining the responses to 6 items which required the respondents to indicate whether or not it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion. Using the Guttman scalogram analysis, responses to the abortion items were tested for scalability and were found to scale well. The single largest group of respondents approved for legal abortion for all of the 6 reasons mentioned and the next largest group approved it only for the hard reasons (woman's health, rape, and possible child deformity). Trends in attitudes toward legal abortion were analyzed by percentage distribution. 2 major shifts in trend were noted in the attitudes of the public toward legal abortion in the abovementioned period. In 1973, the percentage of approval rose considerably for each of the 6 reasons. In 1978, the 2nd shift occurred when the percentage of approval declined sharply for all but the reasons of woman's health and rape. Both shifts followed important judicial and congressional decisions made in the US with respect to the abortion issue. Generally speaking, younger, white, never-married respondents, and those who lived in the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic, and New England regions, and in the large central cities were slightly more favorable toward abortion than were their counterparts. Education proved to be the most important socioeconomic variable in explaining the variability of attitude toward abortion. Jews showed the most favorable attitude and Catholics the least favorable attitudes toward abortion. Those who came from small families, or who had small families themselves, or who favored small family size ideal were more favorable toward abortion than those connected to larger families. Significant positive associations were found between attitudes toward premarital sex, sex education in public schools, availability of birth control information for teens, woman's role in the home, business, and politics, and attitudes toward abortion. Variability in attitudes toward abortion among white adults in the US between 1972-78 was best explained by the frequency of attendance at religious services combined with the variables of education, family size ideal, attitude toward available of birth control information to teens, attitude toward sex education in public schools, and attitude toward women's role in the home, business, and politics. (author's modified)
Bangkok, Ministry of Public Health, National Family Planning Programme, Thai Population Clearing-House-Documentation Centre, 1983 Jan. 101 p. (ASEAN/Australian Project No. 3: Developing/Strengthening National Population Information Ststems and Networks in ASEAN Countries)To study the flow of population information from the producers to the users in Thailand and to evaluate the use of population information by the user groups, users were divided into 3 groups--policy makers and acamedicians, program implementors, and the general public. Data were collected by mail questionnaire. Among the policy makers and the academicians, basic demographic data were the most utilized. Academicians indicated that data on population and family planning were consistent with their needs. Considering usefulness of the data for their work, data on family planning policy and birth control were the most useful for makers while basic demographic data were the most useful for academicians. Data on urbanization, law, and population policy of other countries seemed to be the least utilized and the least useful. The policy makers did not receive enough information on: population and social and economic development, production and consumption of agricultural products, population education, and law and population policy of Thailand. The academicians did not receive enough information on almost all 13 topics except information about population policy and birth control, services, and administration. Both groups indicated that the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) was the major source of the data they received. The policy implementors dealt with documents and printing materials in family planning and indicated that the "Journal of Family Health", format was suitable. Regarding the programmed manual or lessons in family planning, the implementors indicated that they were interesting and consistent with their needs. Regarding the kit, the folder, sampling of contraceptive devices, and the model of the uterus were the most utilized materials. The implementors indicated that folders on 6 types of contraceptive methods were useful and adequate for their work. The study directed to the general public dealt with information in family planning disseminated through radio and posters. 2 types of programs were transmitted the radio: song supplemented with information on family planning and drama supplemented with information. The public indicated that the 1st type was a good and interesting program. The respondents evaluated the drama program as good. The majority of the respondents had seen the posters about family planning and indicated a fair amount of interest in them.