Sunday, June 05, 2005

Depression in Adolescent Mothers

A somewhat surprising finding: Half of adolescent mothers experience significant depression in the first year after giving birth.

The prevalence of depression, defined as moderate to severe symptoms on the inventory, was highest at 3 months (37%), said Dr. Schmidt of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. After that, the prevalence steadily declined to 21% at 48 months.

Overall, 50% of the subjects had depression in the first year, and 57% had depression at some point during the study.

Depression, when it was present, appeared to persist. Eighty percent of those with depression at 3 months were also depressed at two or more other reporting periods. Moreover, 88% of those depressed at 48 months had been depressed at 12 months, and 15% had depression at every follow-up.

As regards race, the African American subjects had a somewhat different pattern from the Caucasian and Mexican American subjects.

The African American subjects had a prevalence only half that of the two other groups at 3 months, and the prevalence of depression among the African American subjects at 48 months was higher than it was at 24 months (20% vs. 16%).

In adults, the prevalence of major clinical depression in the first year after giving birth is estimated to be 10%-20%.


At 3:27 PM, Anonymous marissa said...

Seeing as how shitty our society treats adolescent mothers - is it really such a shocker?

***I gave birth to my son when I was 19 - and despite having many advantages: white, middle-class, married, at the hospital 3 of the 4 nurses I had took the time to tell me that I was never going to be a decent mother and not giving my son up to "a good family (because mine was obviously trash)" was tantamount to child abuse. The 4th congratulated me on not killing my baby.

And yep - with all that lovely social support in THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF MOTHERHOOD - it actually only got worse.

People would gather their kids and leave when I took him to the park. Daycare centers would ask us if we were on welfare before even looking at an application. Everytime I went to the grocery store checkout line, the cashier would loudly announce that my items were not WIC approved.

I can't even imagine how it must be if you were in high school, or didn't have the father around, or a supportive family that cared.

I'm actually surprised that teen moms don't have the highest suicide rate in the nation. I wouldn't blame them.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger ema said...


Thanks for the illuminating comment.


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