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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Moderate to Severe Depressive Symptoms among Adolescent Mothers Followed Four Years Postpartum

Authors
item Schmidt, R. Michelle - BAYLOR COLLEGE MED
item Wiemann, Constance - BAYLOR COLLEGE MED
item Rickert, Vaughn - COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
item Smith, O'Brian

Submitted to: Adolescent Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 23, 2005
Publication Date: June 1, 2006
Citation: Schmidt, R.M., Wiemann, C.M., Rickert, V.I., Smith, E.O. 2006. Moderate to severe depressive symptoms among adolescent mothers followed four years postpartum. Journal of Adolescent Health. 38(6):712-718.

Interpretive Summary: Postpartum depression is a major factor in women, and this study examined race/ethnic differences in depressive symptoms among adolescent mothers during the first four years after giving birth. Adolescent mothers (18 years or younger) were followed for four years after delivery and depressive symptoms were measured. Fifty-seven percent reported moderate to severe depressive (MSD) symptoms during the four-year period, with the greatest symptoms occurring within the first year. The results showed MSD symptoms at three months were significantly related to MSD symptoms at 48 months for all race/ethnic groups. As a group, African-American adolescent mothers appear to have the lowest rates of MSD symptoms, but higher rates of recurrence, when compared with Mexican-Americans and Caucasians.

Technical Abstract: Our objective was to examine race/ethnic differences in depressive symptoms among adolescent mothers during the first four years postpartum. A prospective study of 623 adolescent mothers, 18 years or younger followed four years after delivery. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). These analyses focused on data collected at 3, 12, 24 and 48 months postpartum. Overall, 57% of the sample reported moderate to severe depressive (MSD) symptoms during the four-year period. The steepest increase in the percent reporting new MSD symptoms occurred during the first 12 months after delivery. The prevalence of MSD symptoms was highest at three months (36.7%) and steadily declined through 48 months (21.1%) for all race/ethnic groups with one exception: a slightly higher percentage of African-Americans reported MSD symptoms at 48 (20.0%) than at 24 months (16.9%). Logistic regression analysis used to calculate the relative odds of experiencing MSD symptoms revealed higher odds of depressive symptoms for Caucasians (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-3.4) at three months, and for Mexican-Americans at both 12 (AOR 2.6; 95% CI 1.4-4.8) and 24 (AOR 2.2; 95% CI 1.1-4.4) months. MSD symptoms at three months were significantly related to MSD symptoms at 48 months for all race/ethnic groups (p < .001). More than 50% of adolescent mothers experience MSD symptoms during the first postpartum year. As a group, African-American adolescent mothers appear to have the lowest rates of MSD symptoms, but higher rates of recurrence, when compared with Mexican-Americans and Caucasians.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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