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%.