Tanzanian adolescents’ attitudes toward abortion: innovating video vignettes in survey research on health topics

Anna Bolgrien, Deborah Levison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study was to pilot an innovative cartoon video vignette survey methodology to learn about young people’s perspectives on abortion and sexual relationships in Tanzania. The Animating Children’s Views methodology used videos shown on tablets to engage young people in conversations. Such conversations are complicated because abortion is highly stigmatized, inaccessible, and illegal in Tanzania. Methods: The cartoon video vignette methodology was conducted as a part of a quantitative survey using tablet computers. Hypothetical situations and euphemistic expressions were tested in order to engage adolescents on sensitive topics in low-risk ways. Qualitative interviews and focus groups validated and further explored the perspectives of the young respondents. Results: Results indicate that 12–17 year-olds usually understand euphemistic expressions for abortion and are aware of social stigma and contradictory norms surrounding abortion from as young as age twelve. Despite the risks involved with abortion, this study finds adolescents sometimes view abortion as a reasonable solution to allow a girl to remain in school. Additional findings show that as adolescents wrestle with how to respond to a schoolgirl’s pregnancy, they are considering both the (un)affordability of healthcare services and also expectations for gender roles. Conclusions: Digital data collection, such as the Animating Children’s Views cartoon video vignettes used in this study, allows researchers to better understand girls’ and boys’ own perspectives on their experiences and reproductive health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalReproductive Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Abortion
  • Adolescent
  • Children
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Survey methods
  • Tanzania
  • Vignettes

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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