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Women Health. 2011 Aug 31;51(6):525-45. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2011.606355.

The prevalence and correlates of depressive symptoms among adolescent mothers: results from a 17-year longitudinal study.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98105-6299, USA. gavina@uw.edu

Abstract

The objective of the authors in this study was to examine the prevalence and correlates of elevated depressive symptoms in a 17-year cohort study of 173 women who were unmarried, pregnant adolescents between June 1988 and January 1990. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate the associations between correlates and elevated depressive symptoms during five distinct developmental periods of the life course. Depressive symptoms were measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory depression subscale. The prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms in adolescent mothers significantly increased over the 17 years of the study from 19.8% to 35.2%. In adjusted analyses, antenatal depressive symptoms were positively and significantly associated with elevated depressive symptoms at every developmental period. Intimate partner violence was positively and significantly associated with elevated depressive symptoms during all but one developmental period. Other significant correlates of elevated depressive symptoms included welfare receipt, smoking, and parity, all of which were significant at some, but not other, developmental periods. Antenatal depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence were positively and significantly associated with elevated depressive symptoms. Given the public health consequences associated with maternal depression, clinical and community-based interventions should be developed to identify and to treat adolescent mothers at-risk for antenatal depression and intimate partner violence.

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