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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2004 Apr;38(4):197-203.

Impact of demographic factors, early family relationships and depressive symptomatology in teenage pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Melbourne, Royal Women's Hospital, 132 Grattan St Carlton 3053 Victoria, Australia.



Teenage pregnancy has been well studied from a demographic risk perspective, but less data examining the early interpersonal family experiences of teenage mothers are available. We aimed to explore the relative impact of demographic, early interpersonal family relationships and depressive symptomatology as associations for teenage, as compared to non-teenage, childbearing.


A prospective cross-sectional cohort study was undertaken. Institutional ethics committee approval and informed consent were obtained. Data from consecutive teenage (teenage) and non-teenage (control) subgroups of antenatal women were compared. Subjects were interviewed and completed the following questionnaires: demographic, drug use and lifestyle; early life experiences; Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS); and General Health Questionnaire-28.


In multivariate analysis, the following factors had a significant independent association with younger age of motherhood in order of magnitude: a history of parental separation/divorce in early childhood; exposure to family violence in early childhood; illicit drug use (ever or in pregnancy); idealization of the pregnancy; low family income; a positive HADS-A or HADS-D subscale score; and a low level of education.


Interventions to reduce the rate of teenage births need to be multifocal and should include strategies to address early childhood exposure to parental separation and violence, reduce idealization of pregnancy, diagnose psychological symptomatology and offer alternative career choices to children defaulting in the education system.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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