Changes in depression in pregnant and postpartum adolescents following participation in a comprehensive preventative intervention

Date
2004-05
Authors
Mercado, Janyna M.
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine which group of participants, those in the school-based intervention program or those in the comparison group, was more prone to developing symptoms of depression. The participants' symptoms of depression were measured using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) at intake, 6 months postpartum, and 12 months postpartum. Pregnant and postpartum mothers in the treatment group and in the comparison group were compared to determine which group was more prone to developing symptoms of depression. A third relationship examined was to identify if the adolescent mothers who experienced an episode of abuse were more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression than the adolescent mothers who did not experience an episode of abuse.

The first hypothesis stated that there would be a statistically significant difference between adolescent mothers in the treatment and comparison groups, with the treatment group less likely to exhibit symptoms of depression. Participants in each group were compared at all intervals in which data were collected.

The second hypothesis stated that there would be a statistically significant difference between pregnant mothers in both groups (treatment and comparison) and postpartum mothers, with the pregnant mothers more prone to developing depression than the postpartum female adolescents. The differences in scores between pregnant and parenting groups was examined by using paired t-tests.

The third hypothesis stated that there would be a statistically significant difference between adolescent mothers who experienced an episode of abuse and those who had not; mothers with an abuse history were more likely to experience symptoms of depression. A repeated measures MANOVA was used to examine the third hypothesis.

The results of the study revealed that the treatment group was less depressed than the control group, that pregnant adolescents were more prone to depression than the postpartum adolescents, and that female adolescents who had experienced abuse were more likely to be depressed than the female adolescents who had not experienced abuse. The overall conclusion of this study supported the use of school-based intervention programs for pregnant and parenting female adolescents as a means of decreasing the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms.

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Keywords
Health and environmental sciences, Psychology, Adolescents, Depression, Postpartum, Pregnant, Cognitive therapy, Mental health
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