Title : A model of self-forgiveness for women who terminated pregnancy in adolescence
Termination of pregnancy amongst adolescents has been linked to several physical and and psychological problems. Adolescents represent a population vulnerable to numerous physical and psychological problems. Some researchers have concluded that adolescent women, having undergone termination of pregnancy (TOP), experience severe guilt and shame, that become the overarching psychological problems. The purpose of this study was to develop a model of self-forgiveness for women who terminated pregnancy. The objectives of the study were aligned into three phases as: Phase 1: Desk review; Phase 2: Lived experiences of adolescents about TOP and Phase 3: Development of a model of Self-forgiveness for women who terminated pregnancy in adolescence. A qualitative approach based on Heidegger’s (1962) interpretive phenomenology guided the study. Purposive and snowball sampling tecniques were used to recruit thirty (30) participants who terminated pregnancy in adolescence. The study was conducted at a Health Care Centre in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Interviews were audiotaped. The major findings of the study was that adolescents experience severe guilt and shame and these are manifested as self-condemnation and self-blame. Culture, religion and reproductive coercion were the major contributing factors. A model of self-forgiveness, based on the the findings, was developed. Inclusion of a self-forgiveness module in the curriculum for basic training of student nurses was recommended. Such knowledge would enhance counseling techniques, emotional and professional maturity of nurses. It would also be beneficial to replicate this study in more ethnically diverse populations.