background: pregnancy has a symbolic meaning for each woman. it varies according to personality structure and is related to women's previous life experiences. objectives: the aim was to characterize the women that suffered abortion, asking about anxiety and depression, looking for guilty feelings after abortion, and to compare results between women who suffered spontaneous abortion and those who had intentional abortion. methods: fifty women with spontaneous and fifty with induced abortion were interviewed 30 days after the procedure. a semistructured questionnaire with open and closed-end questions and hospital anxiety and depression scale were administered. results: woman who induced abortion revealed to be more anxious (mean 11) and depressed (mean 8.3) than woman with spontaneous abortion (means 8.7 and 6.1 respectively, p<0.05). conclusions: women who presented induced abortion were more anxious and depressed, as shown by later life events, full of problematic feelings and the need fort sychological support.