Individual Level Abortion Stigma (ILAS) Scale

The Individual Level Abortion Stigma (ILAS) Scale is a 20 item measure of abortion-related stigma. It covers four domains: worries about judgment, isolation, self-judgment and community condemnation. The ILAS scale has also been validated in other settings, such as here.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


Worries about judgment
1. Other people might find out about my abortion
2. My abortion would negatively affect my relationship with someone I love
3. I would disappoint someone I love
4. I would be humiliated
5. People would gossip about me
6. I would be rejected by someone I love
7. People would judge me negatively

Response Options:
Not worried - 0
A little worried - 1
Quite worried - 2
Extremely worried - 3

8. I have had a conversation with someone I am close with about my abortion*
9. I was open with someone that I am close with about my feelings about my abortion*
10. I felt the support of someone that I am close with at the time of my abortion*

Response Options:
Never - 0
Once - 1
More than once - 2
Many times - 3

11. I can talk to the people I am close with about my abortion*
12. I can trust the people I am close to with information about my abortion*
13. When I had my abortion, I felt supported by the people I was close with*

Response Options:
Strongly disagree - 0
Disagree - 1
Neither agree nor disagree - 2
Agree - 3
Strongly agree - 4

14. I felt like a bad person
15. I felt confident I had made the right decision*
16. I felt ashamed about my abortion
17. I felt selfish
18. I felt guilty

Response Options:
Strongly disagree - 0
Disagree - 1
Neither agree nor disagree - 2
Agree - 3
Strongly agree - 4

Community condemnation
19. Abortion is always wrong
20. Abortion is the same as murder

Response Options:
No one - 0
A few people - 1
About half the people - 2
Many people - 3
Most people - 4

*Items are reverse scored

Scoring Procedures

The final measure is created by summing the values of the 20 item scale and subscales and dividing by the number of items, with larger values reflecting greater stigma. Seven of the items should be reverse coded. No thresholds or cutoff points related to stigmatization are used within the scales and subscales, thus the scales should be used as continuous variables whenever possible. The subscales can also be used as independent measures of different dimensions of stigma since they are not highly correlated.

Original Citation

Cockrill, K., Upadhyay, U. D., Turan, J., & Greene Foster, D. (2013). The stigma of having an abortion: Development of a scale and characteristics of women experiencing abortion stigma. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 45(2), 79-88.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


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