A prospective study of perinatal depression and trauma history in pregnant minority adolescents

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Adolescent pregnancy is common and minority adolescents are at high risk. We sought the following: (1) to prospectively assess prevalence of antenatal depression (AND) and postpartum depression (PPD) in minority adolescents and (2) to examine the association of social support and adjustment, trauma, and stress on depression status.


A total of 212 pregnant adolescents were recruited from public prenatal clinics and administered a prospective research survey during pregnancy and 6 weeks' postpartum. Depression was measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Univariate, bivariate, and multivariable analyses were performed using logistic regression to assess predictors of AND and PPD.


In our cohort, 20% screened positive for AND and 10% for PPD. The strongest predictor of PPD was AND (odds ratio [OR], 4.89; P < .001). Among adolescents with trauma history, there was a 5-fold increase (OR, 5.01) in the odds of AND and a 4-fold increase (OR, 3.76) in the odds of PPD. AND was associated with the adolescent's poor social adjustment (P < .001), perceived maternal stress (P < .001), less social support (P < .001), and a less positive view of pregnancy (P < .001). PPD was significantly associated with primiparity (P = .002), poor social adjustment (P < .001), less social support and involvement of the baby's father (P < .001), and less positive view of pregnancy (P < .001).


Significant independent risk factors for PPD include AND, view of pregnancy, and social support. Trauma history was highly prevalent and strongly predicted AND and PPD. Point prevalence decreased postpartum, and this may be due to transient increased social support following the birth, warranting longer follow-up and development of appropriate interventions in future work.

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