A medical record linkage analysis of abortion underreporting

J. Richard Udry, Monica Gaughan, Pamela J. Schwingl, Bea J. Van Den Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Inaccuracy in women 's reports of their abortion histories affects many areas of interest to reproductive health professionals and researchers. The identification of characteristics that affect the accuracy of reporting is essential for the improvement of data collection methods. A comparison of the medical records of 104 American women aged 27-30 in 1990-1991 with their self-reported abortion histories revealed that 19% of these women failed to report one or more abortions. Results of logistic regression analysis indicate that nonwhite women were 3.3 times as likely as whites to underreport. With each additional year that had elapsed since the first recorded abortion, women became somewhat more likely to underreport (odds ratio of 1.3), while each additional year of a woman's education slightly decreased the likelihood of under-reporting (odds ratio of 0.7).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-231
Number of pages4
JournalPerspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Richard Udry, J., Gaughan, M., Schwingl, P. J., & Van Den Berg, B. J. (1996). A medical record linkage analysis of abortion underreporting. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 28(5), 228-231.