Depressive Symptoms among Pregnant Low-Income Adolescents and Implications for Social Workers
Karen M. Tabb, Nancy Jacquelyn PĂ©rez-Flores, Maria Pineros-Leano, Lissette M. Piedra, Brandon Meline, Hsiang Huang

Introduction: Pregnant adolescents have worse mental health outcomes than any other age group. Recently researchers have sought to examine the prevalence of depression among adolescents during the postpartum period, but few examine risk factors during pregnancy. This study aims to identify the prevalence and associated risk factors for depression during pregnancy among adolescents. Methods: We used cross-sectional data of 89 pregnant low-income adolescents age 16-19. All participants completed an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale screen as a part of standard care in a WIC program. We performed descriptive and multivariable regression statistical analyses using STATA MP 12.1. Results: The prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms (depression) was 17% among our sample. Depression was associated with having less than 12 years of education and the number of previous live births (parity). After adjusting for education, pregnant adolescents who had a previous live birth were four times as likely to have depression compared to adolescents who never had a previous birth (odds ratio = 4.07; 95% confidence interval 1.13-14.71). Conclusion: The findings demonstrate that low-income adolescents the most significant risk factor for experiencing depression is giving birth in the past and before the current pregnancy. This finding is essential for social workers who provide services to adolescent mothers.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jssw.v7n2a1