January 31, 2024

MyVoice researchers honored among ‘Distinguished Dozen’ papers by the Journal of Adolescent Health

The recognized study explored adolescents’ awareness and knowledge about the legal landscape of abortion and how it could affect their lives.

The MyVoice research team has once again been included among the “Distinguished Dozen” research papers published by the Journal of Adolescent Health. Researchers published a paper titled, “Adolescent Awareness of the Changing Legal Landscape of Abortion in the United States and its Implications,” in August 2023, which was cited for the award.

Dr. Bianca Allison
Bianca Allison, MD, 2016 graduate of University of Michigan Medical School.

The paper was written by University of Michigan Medical School 2016 graduate Bianca A. Allison, MD, MPH, who is now with the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine; current U-M Medical School student Kinsey Vear, MD, MPH, who will graduate this year; Andrea J. Hoopes, MD, MPH of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Health Institute in Seattle; and Julie Maslowsky, Ph.D., associate professor of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan.

Allison et al presented results from a five-question, open-ended text message survey of a nationwide sample of adolescents aged 14-24, which examined their awareness and knowledge about the legal landscape of abortion and how changes might affect them. The survey results were collected in 2022, just 18 days after the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on the Dobbs v. Jackson case.

Over 650 individuals responded to the MyVoice survey (79% of the cohort). Most adolescents were aware of potential changes to abortion access and most adolescents reported using the internet and social media for information about abortions.

Overall, negative emotions about the changing legal landscape predominated, including anger, fear, and sadness. When considering factors for abortion decisions, adolescents most often discussed finances and life circumstances including their future, age, education, maturity and emotional stability.

Study results suggested that many adolescents are aware of and concerned about potential impacts of abortion restrictions, across a diversity of ages, gender, race/ethnicity and geographic perspectives. The research team notes that adolescents are a unique population that already experienced multiple and distinct barriers to abortion access prior to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022. They argue that following the new restrictions on abortion, barriers to access for adolescents will only increase.

“Our study suggests that a majority of young people across the United States are aware of and concerned about these potential impacts very soon after the leak of the impending Supreme Court decision. Understanding and amplifying the voices of adolescents during this time of rapid change in the abortion access landscape is necessary to inform novel access solutions and policy initiatives that center the needs of youth,” Allison et al wrote. 

The Journal of Adolescent Health, in an editorial titled, “The Distinguished Dozen: 2023 Journal of Adolescent Health Articles Making Distinguished Contributions to Adolescent and Young Adult Health,” states that ‘Distinguished Dozen’ papers are chosen based on a peer review process with editors that query, “Does this manuscript merit special consideration in a dedicated issue and does it contribute particularly important research?” to the field of adolescent health. Among the almost 300 papers published last year, 11 winning papers were selected by two or more peer viewers. The journal’s editor in chief selected the twelfth paper.

The editorial authors write that papers like Allison et al’s study on reproductive health care was an “especially important topic (in 2023) given the Supreme Courts’ Dobbs versus Jackson decision, which limited access to abortion care.”

About the MyVoice paper, the editorialists write, “The study highlights the importance of listening to and understanding young peoples’ perspectives, needs, and preferences to effectively adapt reproductive healthcare options and resources. Giving youth a voice on important health issues may help them make positive health choices amid this complicated landscape.”

Tammy Chang, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., associate professor
Associate Professor Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS, and director of MyVoice

This is not the first time that MyVoice researchers’ work has been cited among the “Distinguished Dozen.” In 2020, MyVoice won honors for the paper, “Active Shooter Drills in the United States: A National Study of Youth Experiences and Perceptions.” That paper described results of a text survey among 815 youths about active shooter drills. Approximately 70% of respondents reported that their school had active shooter drills. Less than 10% of responders reported experiencing drills that follow national recommendations, and 60% of responders reported feeling unsafe, scared, helpless, or sad as a result of experiencing active shooter drills.

ALSO READ: New Research: Many youth say active shooter drills are harmful

An accompanying editorial placed the study within a larger social context, including the importance of multilevel approaches to reduce gun violence and to limit gun access, as well as the importance of following comprehensive, evidence-based guidance in schools and districts that continue to conduct active shooter drills.

“We’re thrilled that MyVoice studies are having a tangible impact in the research community and beyond,” said MyVoice Director Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS. “Young people care deeply about the many issues that affect their health and wellness. Being able to share their lived experiences regarding these issues can inform better practices and more effective policies that actually serve youth.”

Articles cited:

Allison, B. A., Vear, K., Hoopes, A. J., & Maslowsky, J. (2023). Adolescent awareness of the changing legal landscape of abortion in the United States and its implications. Journal of Adolescent Health, 73(2), 230–236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2023.04.008

Ford, C. A., Boyer, C. B., Halpern, C. T., Katzman, D. K., Ross, D. A., Berg, T. D., & Santo, T. D. (2024). The distinguished dozen: 2023 Journal of Adolescent Health Articles making distinguished contributions to adolescent and Young Adult Health. Journal of Adolescent Health, 74(2), 211–215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2023.11.003

Moore-Petinak, N., Waselewski, M., Patterson, B. A., & Chang, T. (2020) Active Shooter Drills in the United States: A National Study of Youth Experiences and Perceptions. Journal of Adolescent Health, 67 (2020), 509-513. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.06.015

Supplemental reading

Editorial to the Allison et al paper: Ralph, L., & Hasselbacher, L. (2023). Adolescents and abortion restrictions: Disproportionate burdens and critical warnings. Journal of Adolescent Health, 73(2), 221–223. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2023.05.002


 For more information about the organization Youth Reproductive Equity, of which Drs. Bianca Allison, Andrea Hoopes and Julie Maslowsky are members, please click https://www.youthreproequity.org/.