How does that make you feel? Scale development and validation to assess therapist attitudes about client pregnancy decisions
Awarded 2021
Emerging Scholars in Family Planning
Rachel Dyer, MA
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Rachel Dyer is a therapist, scholar, and activist. She earned both her BS (Psychology, Neurobiology) and MS (Counseling) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she remains a student today – now working to earn her PhD in Counseling Psychology. Broadly, Rachel’s scholarship examines the intersection of mental health and human reproduction, with the aim of equipping mental health clinicians with greater knowledge and skills by which to support their clients in this area. Her activism further reflects these goals and has included providing free peer support as the first-ever Postpartum Support International Post-Abortion Special Support Coordinator and training textline counselors to provide nonjudgmental, post-abortion emotional support with Exhale. Through her Society of Family Planning Research Fund Emerging Scholar proposal, Rachel aims to develop and validate a scale to assess therapist attitudes about their clients’ pregnancy decisions – both overall and for three specific decisions (abortion, placement for adoption, parenting). As the development and pilot testing of the items was completed in Spring 2021, Rachel will next conduct two large-scale field tests of items, using graded response modeling and confirmatory factor analysis, respectively, to assess the utility of individual items and verify the hypothesized three-factor structure (attitudes about abortion, placement for adoption, and parenting). The goal of the proposed project is to equip both family planning and therapy scholars with a tool by which to fill research gaps, develop evidence-based trainings, and ultimately improve client wellbeing – particularly clients capable of pregnancy or with pregnancy decision histories.