The DAMSS team has published a number of articles that investigate gaps in the existing literature. They offer recommendations for future research and aim to add to the existing body of scholarship in the field.
Find out more by accessing the content below.
Jozkowski, K.N., Bueno, X., Turner, R.C., Crawford, B.L., & Lo, W.L. (2023). People's Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward Abortion Laws Before and After the Dobbs v. Jackson Decision. Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, 31:1, 2233794, DOI:10.1080/26410397.2023.2233794
Although media response to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision was widespread in the United States, the extent to which people were aware of the Mississippi law leading to the decision, the Dobbs v. Jackson case, is unclear, as are the resulting effects of the decision on legal abortion. As such, we examined people’s awareness of abortion legality prior to and after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision announcement, as well as the potential implications associated with the decision (i.e. overturning of Roe v. Wade). We also examined people’s attitudes toward abortion legality, specifically focusing on 15 weeks’ gestation to correspond with the Mississippi law that led to Dobbs v. Jackson. Data were collected across two studies at different times. In Study 1, a 15-minute survey was administered to IPSOS’ KnowledgePanel (N = 1014) prior to the decision announcement. A shorter version of that survey was administered to a second sample using NORC’s AmeriSpeak Omnibus panel (N = 1002). Nearly half of that sample (42.2%) completed the survey prior to the decision announcement. People were generally unaware of the Mississippi law, the Dobbs v. Jackson case, and implications associated with the decision (e.g. overturning Roe v. Wade). People generally endorsed abortion being legal at 15 weeks or later, but this varied by circumstance. We did not find meaningful effects of the decision announcement on people’s knowledge and attitudes. Our findings suggest that the intense response to the decision from the media and people involved in the abortion movement may not represent the general public’s reaction. DOI: 10.1080/ 26410397.2023.2233794
Bueno, X., LaRoche, K.J., Crawford, B.L., Turner, R.C., Lo, W., & Jozkowski, K.N. (2022). Do Fetal Development Markers Influence Attitudes toward Abortion Legality?. Social Currents, 23294965221137830. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294965221137
In the US, legislation intended to limit abortion access based on fetal development markers (e.g., heartbeat, fetal pain) has become increasingly common. We found that people’s support for legal abortion decreases when survey items mention fetal developmental markers compared with items that do not. However, the majority of participants supported access to legal abortion in health-related circumstances at the detection of fetal heartbeat. Using terms that personify the fetus may evoke responses from participants that limit their endorsement for abortion. Thus, including this terminology in the public and political discourse seems to influence abortion attitudes. This might have implications related to electoral outcomes which eventually determine whether women and pregnant people are guaranteed access to abortion.
Hadfield, J.I., Laroche, K.J., Lo, W., Turner, R.C., Crawford, B.L., & Jozkowski, K.N. (2023). Examining differences in attitudes toward legal abortion in cases of endangered mental health for pregnant women: Insights from a US national survey. The Social Science Journal, 1-11. DOI: 10.1080/03623319.2022.2155450
We explored demographic differences in attitudes toward abortion in the case of mental health endangerment. A web-based survey was administered in English and Spanish to a sample of 1,583 participants. Using ordinal logistic regression with partial proportional odds, we regressed political affiliation, race/ethnicity, education, and religious attendance on people’s attitudes toward abortion legality when a woman’s mental health is endangered. Democrats and people affiliated outside of the Republican party, greater educational attainment, and attending religious services less than once a week were associated with greater endorsement of legal abortion in the case of mental health endangerment. Since abortion in the context of health endangerment is commonly discussed in abortion legislation, it is important for researchers to examine people’s attitudes when considering this specific abortion context.
Buyuker, B.E., LaRoche, K.J., Bueno, X., Jozkowski, K.N., Crawford, B.L., Turner, R.C., & Lo, W. (2023). A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding the Disconnection between Perceptions of Abortion Acceptability and Support for Roe v. Wade Among US Adults. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 10449896. https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-10449896
Background: Laws can have a significant influence in shaping societal attitudes. For example, in the US, support for same sex marriage increased after the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality (Kazyak & Stange, 2018). However, this same trend has not been observed for abortion. While there is broad support for upholding the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in the United States, individual attitudes on abortion are, highly divided. Based on historical series from survey data, this polarization has remained relatively stable over time (Gallup, 2021). Although they are interconnected, the relationship between attitudes toward abortion on the one hand, and support for Roe v. Wade, on the other, remains unclear and still puzzling. To interpret this gap, we examine how the phrasing of survey items – and whether they ask about support for abortion in general or support for the legal precedent of Roe specifically – may evoke different responses. To our knowledge, differences in attitudes about these two distinct, but related issues have not been rigorously explored. In this sequential mixed-methods study, we will use data from two studies to compare different ways of assessing individual attitudes toward abortion and support for Roe v. Wade to elucidate inconsistencies and nuances in current polling measures. Methods: We conducted an online survey procured by Qualtrics’ opt-in panel in 2018. The survey included 6000 English- and Spanish-speaking US adults and was fielded using a non-probability quota-based sampling strategy. We used quotas on language for the survey administration, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and political affiliation to ensure representativeness in these demographic characteristics. The survey included questions about demographic characteristics and five different items assessing attitudes toward abortion and support for the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade. We use Pearson’s correlation and Chi-square tests to assess the relationship between these items. Then, following a sequential mixed-methods design, in 2021, we conducted 25 in-depth interviews (15 in English, 10 in Spanish) with US adults from across the country who held diverse opinions about abortion. Interviews lasted approximately 60-90 minutes; the interview protocol was designed to explore the inner complexity of abortion attitudes. We conducted content and thematic analyses to explore how participants’ attitudes about abortion in general are related to whether people think abortion should, or should not be, legal. Preliminary results: Associations between individual level attitudes toward abortion and support for the legal precedent of Roe v Wade is relatively low. The strongest correlation - at 25% - is between identifying as pro-life and holding a strong desire to remove the constitutional right of a woman to choose to have an abortion. This suggests that individual attitudes about abortion do not necessarily translate into support for (or opposition to) Roe v. Wade. Further, support for legal abortion differs across these questions based on whether the question is framed as support for Roe v. Wade, the constitutional right to have an abortion, or abortion in general. In line with our quantitative results, interview data show that, although many participants expressed negative sentiments toward abortion, this did not always translate into desiring abortion to be illegal, which is what would happen in many states if Roe v. Wade was overturned. The preliminary analysis confirms such disconnection between individual abortion attitudes and Roe v Wade support. Participants’ support for legal abortion was often justified as a desire to avoid unsafe abortion. In addition, for those participants who did want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, few reported wanting there to be legal consequences for a pregnant person seeking an illegal abortion. This demonstrates a second paradox between a desire for abortion to be illegal and a belief that punishment should not be applied to pregnant people obtaining (illegal) abortions. Implications: When we compared US adults’ responses to various survey items about abortion with different framings, we observe differences in reported attitudes toward abortion laws, the constitutional precedent of Roe v. Wade, and abortion in general. In the in-depth interviews, participants indicated these topics are related, echoing the quantitative findings. But for many people, they are also distinct and considered separately. To better understand public opinion about abortion, it is imperative to assess whether the measures that we currently use to capture abortion attitudes are adequate and how related items about abortion that appear to be similar can evoke different attitudes from participants. Elucidating these differences has relevant implications for legislators and policy makers as public opinion data may be used to justify the implementation of certain policies.
Crawford, B.L., Jozkowski, K.N., Mena-Meléndez, L., & Turner, R.C. (2023). An Exploratory Examination of Attitudes Toward Illegal Abortion In the US Through Endorsement of Various Punishments. Contraception, 109952. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2023.109952
Objectives We examined people's (1) attitudes about abortion using an item from Pew Research Center (i.e., whether abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases) and (2) support for different punishments if abortion were illegal in all cases for different people involved in the abortion–the pregnant person, their partner, an informant and the healthcare provider. Study design We administered a web-based survey to 2,204 U.S. adults using quota-based sampling. Post-stratification weights were applied to the data so that the sample was comparable to U.S. benchmarks for gender, race, Hispanic ethnicity, age, education, and political affiliation. We compared endorsement of various punishments for a pregnant person, their partner, informant, and healthcare provider. Additionally, we compared the endorsement of these punishments across response options of Pew's abortion legality item. Results Overall, most of our sample indicated that abortion should be legal in most (34%) or legal in all scenarios (21%). However, if abortion were illegal in all circumstances, most of our sample supported some form of punishment for the pregnant person (72%−75%), their partner (65%−68%), and healthcare providers (70%−71%), but not informants (47%−49%). Among the endorsed punishments, therapy/education typically received the most support. Conclusions Because of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision and the subsequent overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion is illegal in a significant number of states and a punishable offense. Our findings suggest that current punishments associated with many of these laws are counter to public sentiment.
Bueno, X., Asamoah, N.A., LaRoche, K.J., Dennis, B., Crawford, B.L., Turner, R.C., Lo, W., & Jozkowski, K.N. (2023) People’s Perception of Changes in their Abortion Attitudes over the Life Course: A Mixed Methods Approach. Advances in Life Course Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcr.2023.100558 Volume 57, September 2023
Research examining the extent that people’s attitudes toward abortion vary across the life course is mixed. Some studies do not show a strong relationship between abortion attitudes and life stage, while others do find strong associations in both directions—older age associated with both more and less favorable attitudes toward legal abortion. Taken together, these findings suggest that individual attitudes toward abortion are static for some but malleable for others. Little is known about the prevalence, reasons, and directionality of attitude changes. This explanatory sequential mixed methods study investigates people’s perceptions of whether, how, why, and for whom their abortion attitudes may have changed over their life course. We qualitatively investigated the reasons (e.g., experiences, life events) that triggered changes in respondents’ abortion attitudes and quantitatively explored the sociodemographic factors associated with the perceived direction of those changes. The quantitative data come from a 2020 online survey completed by 1501 English and Spanish-speaking adults in the US. Qualitative data were collected from a subsample (n = 24) of the survey respondents who indicated interest in a follow-up in-depth interview. Our findings indicate that access to information and knowledge played an important role in changing abortion attitudes across a spectrum of support or opposition. For those who indicated becoming more opposed to abortion over time, experiencing parenthood was an important trigger for change and family/religious upbringing were key to shaping attitudes. For those who became more supportive of abortion over time, empathy for women was an important trigger for change and disagreeing with or distancing oneself from family/religious upbringing were key to shaping their attitudes. If attitudinal change occurs, becoming more supportive of abortion over the life-course is more common than becoming more opposed, however there are some nuances across age and gender. Understanding the different factors that influence attitudinal change regarding abortion has important implications for public opinion research and possible ramifications for abortion legality.
Bueno, X., Montenegro, M., Lo, W., Valdez, D., Crawford, B.L., Turner, R.C., & Jozkowski, K.N. (2023) Migrant Generations and Abortion Circumstances: Assessing Latinxs’ Abortion Attitudes in the US. Sociological Inquiry. 09 June 2023 https://doi.org/10.1111/soin.12556
This study examines how Latinx migrant generation, and the circumstances of abortion may be linked to attitudes toward abortion legality among a sample of US Latinx adults. Using Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Multiple-Indicators Multiple-Causes modeling, we found that abortion attitudes across different migrant generations are sensitive to the circumstances motivating abortions. We did not find significant differences across migrant generations for generally more endorsed circumstances, such as when the woman’s health is at risk or when the pregnancy occurs as a result of rape. However, second and third generations were more supportive of abortion legality than first-generation for generally less endorsed circumstances such as low income, being unpartnered, not wanting (more) children, or contraception failure. The social context in which one is raised (i.e., the US for migrants’ descendants, or the country of birth for the first-generation migrants) plays a role in shaping abortion attitudes regarding the less endorsed social-related circumstances but not for more endorsed circumstances. Further research should consider the inner heterogeneity of Latinx as well as the multiple contexts of abortion.
Jozkowski, K.N., Crawford, B.L., Simmons, M.K., Turner, R.C., & Lo, W. (2023). Predictors of Past and First-Time Participation in Abortion-Related Political Engagement Before and After the Nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Sexuality Research and Social Policy https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-023-00815-1
Guided by the Civic Voluntarism Model (CVM), we examined people’s lifetime engagement in abortion-related activism behaviors prior to Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States and people’s first-time engagement in abortion-related activism behaviors after his nomination. We examined predictors of lifetime and first-time engagement separately for people who identify as pro-life, pro-choice, and neither/both. Method: A web-based survey was administered to U.S. adults in English and Spanish (N = 4,743). We used logistic regression to assessed predictors of (1) lifetime engagement in four abortion activism behaviors (e.g., calling politicians, attending rallies) before Kavanaugh’s nomination and (2) first-time engagement in the same four behaviors after Kavanaugh’s nomination for people who identified as pro-life, pro-choice, and neither/both. Results: Approximately 17-30% of participants engaged in abortion-related activism prior to Kavanaugh’s nomination and 5-12% for the first time after his nomination. CVM variables were better at predicting lifetime than first-time engagement and seemed to be more consistent predictors for pro-life and pro-choice groups than neither/both. Conclusions: Abortion-related engagement after the nomination was minimal, suggesting that this event may not have sparked new engagement. Because CVM variables were more effective predictors of lifetime engagement, especially among people who identified as pro-life and pro-choice, the model may function better for those invested to some degree in an issue. Implications: Abortion advocacy groups may consider using the CVM to engage people in abortion-related activism generally. However, abortion movement leaders may consider other tactics to engage people for the first time.Policy Implications: The CVM was a better predictor of lifetime than first-time engagement in abortion-related activism. As such, advocates for policy change related to abortion may lean on the CVM to encourage engagement more generally, but they will need to look outside of these factors to inspire new engagement in abortion-related activism.
Jozkowski, K.N., Mena-Meléndez, L., Crawford, B.L., & Turner, R.C. (2023). Abortion Stigma: Attitudes Toward Abortion Responsibility, Illegal Abortion, and Perceived Punishments of “Illegal Abortion.” Psychology of Women Quarterly, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/03616843231181350
We examined public opinion regarding unique aspects of abortion legality to better understand potential contexts in which stigma may occur and the extent that people (1) believe actors involved in abortion (i.e., pregnant woman, healthcare provider, man involved in the pregnancy, someone providing information about where to get an abortion, parents of a minor) should be held responsible for illegal abortion, (2) believe abortion should be illegal across different circumstances, and (3) endorse different punishments for pregnant women and healthcare providers, including variation by responsibility. An online survey was administered to 2,489 English and Spanish-speaking US adults, using quota-based sampling, with post-stratification weights applied to match US benchmarks. People scored healthcare providers and women more responsible than other actors. Although the plurality did not support abortion being illegal for most circumstances, a substantial proportion were unsure. Additionally, the plurality of participants did not endorse a punishment for the woman or healthcare provider. However, those who endorsed any punishment, compared with no punishment, typically indicated the pregnant woman and healthcare provider were more responsible. Our findings suggest that current laws criminalizing abortion are misaligned with public opinion and that pregnant women and healthcare providers are likely most susceptible to abortion-related stigma.
Crawford B.L., Simmons M.K., Turner R.C., Lo W., & Jozkowski K.N. (2023) Perceptions of abortion access across the United States prior to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision: Results from a national survey. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. DOI: 10.1363/psrh.12238. PMID: 37475195.
Context: Abortion is common in the United States (US), although access is becoming more difficult for some. In addition to restrictive policies that ban most abortion, limit the number of providers and increase costs, barriers to access also include less supportive cultural climates and stigma related to abortion. Prior to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision of the United States Supreme Court, research suggested that people generally believed it was easy to access abortion, but this research did not examine the underlying factors that drive these perceptions. Methods: In 2019, using data from closed and open-ended survey questions, we examined differences in people’s assessment of abortion access within the state they reside and factors that influence those perceptions. We recruited Englishand Spanish-speaking US adults (N = 2599) from Qualtrics’ national panel using quota-based sampling to participate in a web-based survey. We used multinomial logistic regression to examine predictors of access perceptions across demographic characteristics and thematic analysis to analyze open-ended responses. Results: Fifty-three percent of participants believed abortion was easy to access in their state. Spanish speakers and participants from legislatively “hostile” states were more likely to perceive access as difficult. Legality-related knowledge and pro-life identity were associated with perceiving abortion access as easy. Conclusions: Prior to Dobbs, participants’ interpretation of the ease or difficulty of accessing abortion were subjective. Misconceptions about state abortion laws and the prevalence of providers were common, suggesting a need for more education about abortion laws, policies, and access.
Crawford, B.L., Jozkowski, K.N., LaRoche, K.J., Simmons, M.K., *Willis, M., Turner, R.C.,& Lo, W. (2021). Attitudes toward fetal development-based abortion bans in the United States~~~. Social Science Journal, September 2021 Pages 1-16
Previous research indicates that abortion attitudes may vary across different contexts, such as the reason for abortion and gestational age of the preg-nancy. To expand on these findings, we examined abortion attitudes as they pertain to fetal development-based bans. Using a sequential explanatory mixed-methods design, we assessed correlates of support and opposition to these types of bans and contextualized our quantitative findings by analyzing open-ended responses where participants provided the rationale for their close-ended responses. Approximately half of our sample was supportive of fetal development-based bans at implantation/fertilization or detection of a fetal heartbeat. Participants associated developmental mar-kers with the beginning of ‘real’ life, personal responsibility, and the role of the government in legislating abortion, thereby indicating that these mar-kers function as culturally established symbols. These interpretations are consistent with broader messaging and framing of the pro-life and pro- choice movements in the USA.
Maier, J.M., Jozkowski, K.N., Montenegro, M.S., *Willis, M., Turner, R.C., Crawford, B.L., & Lo, W. (2021). Examining Auxiliary Verbs in a Salient Belief Elicitation. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 8(4), 374-393. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14485/HBPR.8.4.9
Objective: Salient belief elicitations (SBEs) measure beliefs toward a health behavior through open-ended questions, with the purpose of developing close-ended survey questions. Auxiliary verbs used in SBE questions often differ (eg, What are the top 3 reasons you would/should decide to have an abortion?). We tested how 2 auxiliary verbs function in a SBE assessing abortion in English and Spanish: would/decidíra and should/debería. Methods: We administered a SBE survey online (N = 175) and in-person (N = 72); in-person participants also participated in cognitive interviews to assess question interpretation. Participants were assigned to survey versions that included identical SBE questions aside from auxiliary verbs— would/decidíra versus should/debería. Data analysis included: (1) content analysis of survey responses to assess differences in responses by version and (2) thematic analysis of interview data focused on interpretations of would/decidíra and should/ debería . Results: Would/decidíra surveys generated more response categories. Similarly, cognitive interview findings suggest participants conceptualized would/decidíra as allowing for more options, while should/debería was thought to include only the most significant reasons/circumstances for abortion, potentially restricting participants' responses. Conclusion: These findings have important measurement implications for researchers administering SBEs.
Crawford, B.L., Jozkowski, K.N., Turner, R.C., & Lo, W. (2021). Examining the Relationship Between Roe v. Wade Knowledge and Sentiment Across Political Party and Abortion Identity. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 1-12.
"Introduction: With the recent changes to the composition of the Supreme Court in the USA, speculation that Roe v. Wade may be overturned abounds. Research assessing people’s knowledge and sentiment toward Roe v. Wade is limited. As such, we assessed the relationship between knowledge and sentiment regarding Roe v. Wade and whether the relationship is moderated by political affiliation and abortion identity (e.g., “pro-life,” “pro-choice”). Method: In 2018, after Justice Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, we distributed an online survey to a quota-based sample of English- and Spanish-speaking adults in the USA. Results: Roe v. Wade knowledge was significantly related to sentiment; higher knowledge was generally associated with greater support for upholding Roe v. Wade. However, both political affiliation and abortion identity moderated this relationship. Specifically, higher baseline knowledge was associated with lower sentiment scores among those identifying as Republican and “pro-life.” Those who identified as neither or both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” and Independents responded similarly to those who identified as pro-choice and Democrats, respectively. Conclusion: Roe v. Wade knowledge is associated with sentiment; this relationship is moderated by political affiliation and abortion identity. People in subgroups without a clear stance on abortion (e.g., Independents; people who identify as neither or both “pro-life” and “pro-choice”) seem to hold sentiments similar to those more supportive of abortion (e.g., Democrats, “pro-choice”). Policy Implications: In addition to other data, policymakers should consult comprehensive assessments of constituents’ attitudes toward Roe v. Wade when making decisions about abortion and reproductive health issues."
Jozkowski, K.N., Turner, R.C., Weese, J., Lo, W. & Crawford, B. L. (2021). Abortion vs. Sexual Assault: People’s Perceptions of Kavanaugh’s Nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Journal of Sex Research, 1-9.
Public reaction to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States initially centered around abortion. However, approximately two months after the nomination, sexual assault accusations against Kavanaugh were made public. We examined the extent that people’s perceptions of Kavanaugh’s stance on abortion and people’s attitudes toward whether Kavanaugh committed sexual assault were associated with perceptions of Kavanaugh as a good Supreme Court justice. Data were collected from English- and Spanish-speaking participants (N = 2,883) in the United States via Qualtrics’ panel. Using an exploratory hierarchical regression approach, we found that people’s perceptions of whether Kavanaugh committed sexual assault was a stronger predictor of their attitudes toward Kavanaugh’s quality as a Supreme Court justice [F(1,2855) = 1736.54, p < .001] than people’s perceptions of him regarding abortion, after controlling for demographic characteristics and participants’ abortion identity (e.g., identifying as pro-life, pro-choice). That sexual assault was a stronger predictor could suggest the importance of sexual assault regarding opinions of Supreme Court justices or potential over inflation of abortion as a salient issue. Researchers should investigate the saliency of sexual and reproductive health issues in relation to Supreme Court nominees.
Maier, J. M., Jozkowski, K. N., Valdez, D., Crawford, B. L., Turner, R. C., & Lo, W.J. (2021). Applicability of a salient belief elicitation to measure abortion beliefs. American Journal of Health Behavior, 45(1), 81–94. https://doi-org.proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/10.5993/AJHB.45.1.7
Objectives: Salient belief elicitations (SBEs), informed by the Reasoned Action Approach (RAA), are used to identify 3 sets of beliefs – behavioral, control, and normative – that influence attitudes toward a health behavior. SBEs ask participants about their own beliefs through open-ended questions. We adapted a SBE by focusing on abortion, which is infrequently examined through SBEs; we also included a survey version that asked participants their views on what a hypothetical woman would do if contemplating an abortion. Given these deviations from traditional SBEs, the purpose of this study was to assess if the adapted SBE was understood by participants in English and Spanish through cognitive interviewing.
Methods: We examined participants’ interpretations of SBE items about abortion to determine if they aligned with the corresponding RAA construct. We administered SBE surveys and conducted cognitive interviews with US adults in both English and Spanish.
Results: Participants comprehended the SBE questions as intended. Participants’ interpretations of most questions were also in line with the respective RAA construct.
Conclusions: SBE survey questions were comprehended well by participants. We discuss areas in which SBE questions can be modified to improve alignment with the underlying RAA construct to assess abortion beliefs.
McClelland, S. I., Dutcher, H., & Crawford, B. (2020). In the fabric of research: Racial and gender stereotypes in survey items assessing attitudes about abortion. Journal of Social Issues, 76(2), 239-269. https://doi.org/10.1111/josi.12367
We investigated the content of survey items to assess whether and how racist and sexist stereotypes are woven into the fabric of research on attitudes about abortion in the United States. We collected and analyzed a comprehensive set of survey items (456 items from 80 studies) used in peer‐reviewed research published from 2008 to 2018 in representative and nonrepresentative studies of U.S. respondents. Our analysis was guided by historical narratives that have been influential in shaping representations of women and reproduction in the United States (e.g., the Moynihan Report). With this background, we developed three themes pertaining to how individuals’ attitudes about abortion are measured: we found that items rely on (1) moral, (2) sexual, and (3) financial evaluations of women seeking abortion care. These themes highlighted implicit and explicit judgments of women, including representations of them as unwilling to partner with men and as fiscally and sexually irresponsible. We argue that survey items meant to objectively assess abortion attitudes draw on negative racial and gender stereotypes and that these stereotypes then travel widely under the veneer of scientific objectivity. Critical methods, such as the item bank analysis described in this study, are crucial to discern how inequality, prejudice, and discrimination can be reproduced in the fabric of research methods. In our discussion, we offer suggestions for researchers to reduce these and related forms of bias in survey‐based abortion research.
Jozkowski, K.N., Crawford, B.L., Turner, R.C., & Lo, W.J. (2019). Knowledge and sentiments of Roe v. Wade in the wake of Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sexuality Research and Social Policy. 17(2), 285-300. doi:10.1007/s13178-019-00392-2
With Justice Kavanaugh joining the U.S. Supreme Court, there is speculation that Roe v. Wade may be overturned. For decades, public opinion polls have asked people how they feel about overturning Roe v. Wade. However, people may be uninformed about Roe v. Wade and the implications of overturning the decision. To account for this, we examined people’s knowledge of and sentiments toward Roe v. Wade using a tiered survey design. First, we assessed participant's baseline knowledge. Next, we provided information about Roe v. Wade and implications associated with overturning the decision. Finally, we assessed people’s sentiments toward Roe v. Wade. Using quota-based sampling, data were collected from a national sample of English- and Spanish-speaking US adults (N= 2557). Results suggest people are somewhat knowledgeable — they know Roe v. Wade pertains to abortion and they know abortion is currently legal. However, people were less knowledgeable about the implications of overturning the decision. Although the majority of our sample supported upholding Roe v. Wade, support was lower compared with previous research. Perhaps being more informed dissuaded some support. We recommend researchers use comprehensive mechanisms to assess complex issues, like Roe v. Wade. We also recommend policy-makers avoid basing important decisions on data from single, simplistic items.
Jozkowski, K. N., Crawford, B. L., & Willis, M. (2020). Abortion complexity scores from 1972 to 2018: A cross-sectional time-series analysis asing data from the General Social Survey. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 18, 13-26. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-020-00439-9
Introduction: According to data from the General Social Survey (GSS), abortion attitudes have remained relatively stable since 1972. Despite this apparent stability, some researchers argue abortion opinions have become increasingly polarized, particularly among certain subgroups. Others argue people’s attitudes toward abortion are complex and nuanced; that is, people may feel conflicted or ambivalent about abortion in certain contexts. To better understand this issue, we examined complexity and polarization in people’s attitudes toward abortion using GSS data from 1972 until 2018 (n = 44,302).
Methods: The GSS includes six items assessing whether it should be possible for “a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion” under specific circumstances. Using these items, we created an aggregate complexity measure. Negative binomial, Poisson and logistic regression models were tested to assess potential changes in complexity and polarization over time among demographic subgroups.
Results: Findings indicate changes in complexity across political party affiliations, religious identity, and age groups. However, any significant differences among these demographic subgroups are lost once polarized scores are removed. That is, changes in complexity are driven largely by more people supporting access to abortion in all or no situations; among those who remain conflicted, there has been little change in complexity.
Discussion: These findings provide a more nuanced assessment of trends in abortion attitudes. Given the saliency of this issue, we recommend researchers consider alternative mechanisms to assess abortion attitudes.
Policy Implication: These nuanced assessments of abortion attitudes should be considered when determining the congruence between abortion legislation and public opinion.
Valdez, D., Montenegro, M.S., Crawford, B., Turner, R.C., Lo, W.J., & Jozkowski, K.N. (2021). Translation frameworks and questionnaire design approaches as a component of health research and practice: A discussion and taxonomy of popular translation frameworks and questionnaire design approaches. Social Science & Medicine, 278, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113931
Multilanguage surveys are a vital component of comparative public health science. And, with dozens of tools available to guide the translation and design process, an open dialogue about key translation frameworks and design approaches and their strengths and limitations is needed. Herein, we briefly summarize the application and use of several popular translation frameworks and questionnaire design approaches. Our purpose is to draw attention to the complexities of multilanguage surveys by noting how the most appropriate framework or approach is entirely dependent on the context of a specific study. We conclude with a call encouraging the adoption of frameworks and approaches that value high degrees of cultural input, ideally among a large team of culture, language, and subject matter experts. And, as the implemented translation framework or questionnaire design approach may hold implications for the quality and validity of data, we also call on editors to create recommendations that encourage disclosure of the translation framework(s) and/or questionnaire design approaches guiding multilanguage surveys.
LaRoche, K. J., Jozkowski, K. N., Crawford, B. L., & Haus, K. R. (2021). Attitudes of US adults toward using telemedicine to prescribe medication abortion during COVID-19: A mixed methods study. Contraception, 104, 104-110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2021.04.001
Objectives We explored public opinion about using telemedicine to provide medication abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. We also investigated the associations between socio-demographic characteristics and support for using telemedicine in this context and explored factors that influenced respondents’ attitudes on the topic.
Study design In a nationally representative, web-based survey of US adults (n = 711), we asked open- and closed-ended questions about using telemedicine to prescribe medication abortion during COVID-19. We used multinomial logistic regression to assess the relationship between socio-demographic characteristics, endorsement of abortion labels, and political affiliation and support for telemedicine in this circumstance. Then, we conducted content and thematic analyses with the open-ended data to explore what influenced respondents’ opinions.
Results Overall, 332 (44%) of respondents supported using telemedicine for medication abortion during the pandemic; 237 (35%) opposed and 138 (21%) were unsure. Respondents who identified as prochoice were more likely to support using telemedicine for abortion during the pandemic than those who identified as prolife were to oppose it in this context (RRR 2.95; 95% CI 1.31–6.64). Via our content and thematic analysis, we identified that concerns about safety, the legitimacy of telemedicine, and the belief that abortion should occur as early in the pregnancy as possible influenced respondents’ beliefs about using telemedicine for medication abortion.
Conclusions More respondents supported using telemedicine for medication abortion during COVID-19 than opposed it. Among respondents who expressed support, most thought that medication abortion was safe and that telemedicine was equivalent to the in-person provision of care.
Implications There appears to be support among US adults for the provision of medication abortion via telemedicine during COVID-19. Policymakers may consider public sentiment as well as clinical evidence when considering legislation about abortion.
Montenegro, M.S., Solon, M., Valdez, D., Crawford, B.L., Turner, R.C., Lo, W. & Jozkowski, K.N. (2022) Abortion legality and morality: A preliminary investigation examining the influence of religiosity on abortion attitudes among a sample of US Latinxs. Journal of Religion & Society Vol 24 2022. http://hdl.handle.net/10504/136031
Religiosity is a common predictor of abortion attitudes, especially among US Latinx. We examine religiosity, operationalized in various ways (e.g., affiliation, beliefs, practices), and participants’ abortion attitudes. We administered a web-based survey to English and Spanish-speaking US Latinx adults (n=169) using quota-based sampling to achieve demographic diversity. We tested differences in abortion attitudes using k-group median tests. Results indicate participants were less likely to support abortion legality and morality in some circumstances (e.g., if the woman is not married) than others (e.g., if the woman’s life is at risk). Those who see the Bible as God’s literal word or attend religious services regularly were significantly less likely to support abortion legality or perceive abortion as moral. Bible literalism and church attendance may be stronger predictors of abortion attitudes than religious identity. These findings highlight how religiosity may predict support for abortion legality and morality across several circumstances among Latinxs.
Reimers, J.A., Turner, R.C., Crawford, B.L., Jozkowski, K.N., Lo, W.-J., & Keiffer, E.A. (2022). Demographic comparisons on data quality measures in web-based surveys. Personality and Individual Differences, 193, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2022.111612
The use of web-based surveys for collecting self-report data is convenient for businesses and researchers, however, their use can reduce the likelihood of population representation and increase the risk of poor data quality. Evaluation of data quality has resulted in different proportions of participant subgroups being flagged, however, these differences are not consistent across studies and survey topics. Setting aside participants identified as having low-quality data (LQD) can impact sample characteristics when some subgroups are reduced at higher rates than others. In this study, the incidence of LQD is compared across demographic subgroups for four data collections measuring attitudes about social issues and consumer satisfaction. Results indicate that younger participants are more frequently identified as having LQD using multiple indicators and survey topics. Conversely, Black or African American participants are consistently flagged for LQD at a higher rate for one survey topic, but not the other, indicating some LQD indicators may be oversensitive to subgroups with construct complexity. To reduce underrepresentation in samples and associated analyses when subgroups have been found to exhibit higher LQD, we recommend oversampling. When LQD for a subgroup shows evidence of being construct-dependent, we recommend LQD indicators that are unrelated to content response patterns.
Crawford, B.L. Jozkowski, K.N., & LaRoche, K.J. (2022) Examining abortion attitudes in the context of gestational age. Social Science Quarterly 5/16/2022. https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.13157
Objective: Examine how situational abortion attitudes differ when including additional context related to the gestational age of the pregnancy.
Method: OLS models predict abortion attitudes across 4 different sets of abortion attitude questions, using data collected from an online panel weighted to match U.S. benchmarks.
Results: Later gestational ages are associated with less support for abortion. Although there is some variation in the amount that support decreases across different socio-demographic groups, the predictors of abortion attitudes remain relatively stable across gestational ages. Abortion attitudes to questions with no reference to gestational age appear to be the most similar to questions referencing early gestational ages.
Conclusion: When answering abortion attitude questions that do not include any reference to gestational age, respondents may be more likely to think about abortion early in the pregnancy. Including references to gestational ages may provide a more nuance and complete understanding of abortion attitudes.
Valdez, D., Jozkowski, K.N., Haus, K., ten-Thij, M.C., Crawford, B.L. Turner, R.C., Lo, W., & Bollen, J. (2022) Assessing the rigidity of self-declared abortion ideology: Natural Language Processing insights from an online pilot qualitative study on abortion attitudes. Pilot and Feasibility Studies 8, Article number: 127 (2022) https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-022-01078-0
Introduction: Although much work has been done on US abortion ideology, less is known relative to the psychological processes that distinguish personal abortion beliefs or how those beliefs are communicated to others. As part of a forthcoming probability-based sampling designed study on US abortion climate, we piloted a study with a controlled sample to determine whether psychological indicators guiding abortion beliefs can be meaningfully extracted from qualitative interviews using natural language processing (NLP) substring matching. Of particular interest to this study is the presence of cognitive distortions—markers of rigid thinking—spoken during interviews and how cognitive distortion frequency may be tied to rigid, or firm, abortion beliefs.
Methods: We ran qualitative interview transcripts against two lexicons. The first lexicon, the cognitive distortion schemata (CDS), was applied to identify cognitive distortion n-grams (a series of words) embedded within the qualitative interviews. The second lexicon, the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC), was applied to extract other psychological indicators, including the degrees of (1) analytic thinking, (2) emotional reasoning, (3) authenticity, and (4) clout.
Results: People with polarized abortion views (i.e., strongly supportive of or opposed to abortion) had the highest observed usage of CDS n-grams, scored highest on authenticity, and lowest on analytic thinking. By contrast, people with moderate or uncertain abortion views (i.e., people holding more complex or nuanced views of abortion) spoke with the least CDS n-grams and scored slightly higher on analytic thinking.
Discussion and conclusion: Our findings suggest people communicate about abortion differently depending on their personal abortion ideology. Those with strong abortion views may be more likely to communicate with authoritative words and patterns of words indicative of cognitive distortions—or limited complexity in belief systems. Those with moderate views are more likely to speak in conflicting terms and patterns of words that are flexible and open to change—or high complexity in belief systems. These findings suggest it is possible to extract psychological indicators with NLP from qualitative interviews about abortion. Findings from this study will help refine our protocol ahead of the full-study launch.
Valdez D., Jozkowski K.N., Montenegro M.S., Crawford B.L., Jackson F. Identifying accurate pro-choice and pro-life identity labels in Spanish: Social media insights and implications for comparative survey research. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2022 Oct. DOI: 10.1363/psrh.12208. PMID: 36254620.
Introduction: Although debate remains about the saliency and relevance of Pro-Choice and Pro-Life labels (as abortion belief indicators) they have been consistently used over four decades to broadly designate abortion identity. However, clear labels are less apparent in other languages (e.g., Spanish). Social media, as an exploratory data science tool, can be leveraged to identify the presence and popularity of online abortion identity labels and how they are contextualized online. Purpose: This study aims to determine how popularly used Spanish-language Pro-Choice and Pro-Life identity labels are contextualized online. Method: We used Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) topic models, an unsupervised Natural Language Processing (NLP) application, to generate themes about Spanish language tweets categorized by Spanish abortion identity labels: (1) proelección (pro-choice); (2) derecho a decidir (right to choose); (3) proaborto (pro-abortion); (4) provida (pro-life); (5) antiaborto (anti-abortion); and (6) derecho a vivir (right to life). We manually reviewed themes for each identity label to assess scope. Results: All six identity labels included in our analysis contained some references to abortion. However, several labels were not exclusive to abortion. Proelección (pro-choice), for example, contained several themes related to ongoing presidential elections. Discussion & Conclusion: No singular Spanish abortion identity label encapsulates abortion beliefs; however, there are several viable options. Just as the debate remains ongoing about Pro-Choice and Pro-Life as accurate indicators of abortion beliefs, we must also consider that identity is more complex than binary labels in Spanish.
Solon, M., Kaplan, A.M., Crawford, B.L., Turner, R.C., Lo, W., & Jozkowski, K.N. (2022). Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward Roe v. Wade Among US Latinx Adults. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 44(1), 71–93. https://doi.org/10.1177/07399863221116849.
This study examines knowledge of and attitudes toward Roe v. Wade among US Latinx adults. A sample of 779 Latinx respondents were asked a series of questions related to their knowledge of and sentiments toward the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing the constitutional right to abortion. Response patterns were examined according to several demographic variables previously shown to influence abortion attitudes (e.g., age, religiosity, political affiliation) as well as two variables related to respondents’ level of acculturation to the US: generational status and choice of survey language. Results revealed slightly lower levels of knowledge of and support for Roe v. Wade among US Latinxs as compared to previous polls of the general US population. Differences were found in knowledge of Roe v. Wade by generational status and survey language, with those with higher generational statuses and those taking the survey in English exhibiting greater knowledge. Finally, knowledge of Roe v. Wade and respondents’ choice of survey language, but not generational status, were found to predict attitudes toward Roe v. Wade controlling for other demographic variables. The findings contribute to our understanding of abortion attitudes among US Latinxs as well as the association between these attitudes and acculturation-related variables.
Montenegro, M.S., Valdez, D., Crawford, B.L., Turner, R.C., Lo, W., & Jozkowski, K.N. (2022) Using a decentering framework to create English/Spanish surveys about abortion: Insights into comparative survey research (CSR) for new survey development and recommendations for optimal use, The Social Science Journal, DOI: 10.1080/03623319.2022.2092379.
Abortion remains an important and timely issue for all, including people for whom English is not their dominant language. However, the limited number of bilingual surveys about abortion and lack of information regarding the translation process for bilingual surveys necessitates the development of new surveys specifically attune to linguistic and cultural nuances in Spanish-speaking communities. To that end, we applied Erkut’s Dual Focus Model, a close approximation of a simultaneous translation framework through decentering, to co-construct English/Spanish measures about abortion in the wake of the nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. This paper explores various comparative survey research frameworks, with emphasis on simultaneous survey development through decentering. We also highlight the processes, successes, and challenges of our team’s development of a bilingual English/Spanish abortion survey. We conclude with a series of recommendations, including that comparative survey research be conducted with team-based and systematic translations.
Solon, M., LaRoche, K.J., Bueno, X., Crawford, B.L., Turner, R.C., Lo, W., & Jozkowski, K.N. (2022). “ Pro-choice/pro-elección versus pro-life/pro-vida: Examining abortion identity terms across English and Spanish in the United States.” Social Science Quarterly 00: 1– 17. https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.13219.
Objective We examine how a sample of English- and Spanish-speaking U.S. adults define the terms pro-life/pro-vida and pro-choice/pro-elección and explore whether definitions differ by language and/or ethnicity. Methods We asked a sample of 1504 English- and Spanish-speaking U.S. adults to define the terms pro-choice/pro-elección and pro-life/pro-vida in an open-ended format. We used content and thematic analysis to examine congruence and discordance between how English and Spanish speakers, as well as Latinx and non-Latinx participants, understand these terms. Results The terms largely appeared to hold common and canonical understandings, but we identified important differences across language and cultural/ethnic groups. For example, Latinx participants opted out of defining the terms more often than non-Latinx participants, and respondents to the Spanish survey had higher rates of uncertainty about and misunderstanding of the terms than respondents to the English version. Conclusions Our findings suggest language-related variability in understandings of the terms pro-choice/pro-elección and pro-life/pro-vida that could have implications for multilingual and cross-cultural polling on abortion.
Baker, M.R., McClelland, S.I. & Jozkowski, K.N. The Role of Racism and Sexism in Attitudes Towards Abortion Among White, Latinx, and Black Individuals. Sex Roles 87, 435–454 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-022-01328-8.
Attitudes towards abortion play a signifcant historical and contemporary role in U.S. politics. Research has documented the infuence of racist and sexist attitudes in Americans’ political opinions, yet the role of these attitudes has largely been absent in psychological research about abortion. We hypothesized that racism and sexism, originating from historicallyrooted stereotypes about Black women’s sexuality and motherhood, would be related to abortion attitudes. In Study 1, we recruited three samples—Black (n=401), Latinx (n=316), and White (n=343) individuals diverse in age, gender, and abortion identity—to complete an online survey assessing abortion attitudes, symbolic racism, modern sexism, and religiosity. Results were consistent with hypotheses: antipathy and resistance to the equality of African Americans (racism) or women (sexism) related to individuals’ negative abortion attitudes, above and beyond religiosity, in all three samples. In Study 2, we partially replicated these fndings using data from the 2012 American National Election Studies (ANES). Moreover, we extended Study 1’s fndings by demonstrating that racism and/or sexism predicted opposition to abortion while controlling for political ideology among White (n=2,344) and Black (n=500) individuals but not Latinx individuals (n=318). These studies demonstrated that exclusionary ideologies (i.e., racist and sexist attitudes) relate to individuals’ abortion attitudes. These fndings may assist researchers and policy makers with interpreting a more comprehensive picture of the racist and sexist attitudes that individuals possibly draw upon when responding to questions about abortion, including voting, answering polls, or supporting political candidates.
Baker, M.R., Papp, L.J., Crawford, B.L., & McClelland, S.I. (2022). Abortion Stigma: Imagined Consequences for People Seeking Abortion Care in the United States. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/03616843221131544.
Prior to and since the 2022 Dobbs decision, U.S. state laws have endorsed individuals surveilling and punishing those associated with abortion care. This practice presents an urgent need to understand the characteristics of abortion stigma, particularly the perspectives of individuals with stigmatizing beliefs. To examine the concept and characteristics of abortion stigma, we interviewed 55 individuals about whether they thought there should be consequences for getting an abortion and, if so, what the consequences should be. Adults from three states (Michigan, Kansas, and Arizona) were purposively sampled to include a range of abortion identities and levels of religious engagement. We used reflexive thematic analysis to code and interpret the data. Participants imagined consequences including financial penalties, incarceration, and forced sterilization. Three themes highlighted how abortion was described as violating the law, women's gender roles, and religious doctrine; accordingly, abortion was imagined as deserving of negative consequences, although abortion was legal in all states during data collection. We argue that these imagined consequences relied on carceral logics and interconnected sexist, racist, and classist stereotypes that reflect and reproduce abortion stigma. This study deepens the understanding of abortion stigma from the perspective of the stigmatizer, underscoring the danger of legislation grounded in stigmatizing beliefs.