I’m good: Examining the role of individual and interpersonal factors on mental health status in women of color who were teen mothers
The purpose of this study was to examine the individual and interpersonal factors for potential effect on the mental health status of women of color who were teenage mothers (WCTM). WCTM are more likely than their white and adult counterparts to develop negative mental health outcomes due to a convergence of multi-level risks, including certain social determinants of health. Studies have examined independent factors that serve as protective of mental health, but no studies have simultaneously examined the effect of multi-level factors on mental health status. Using a quantitative methodology that utilized an online self-administered survey, data were collected on three individual level factors (Learned Helplessness, Maternal Self-Efficacy, Coping Strategies), and three interpersonal level factors (Emotional Social Support, Normative Beliefs, Perceived Racism). Four different regression models were conducted to test the independent variables against six different iterations of the dependent variable, mental health status: Post-Pregnancy Anxiety Score, Post-Pregnancy Depression Score, Low/High Possibility of Anxiety Group, Low/High Possibility of Depression Group, Change in Anxiety score, and Change in Depression score. Results revealed Maternal Self-Efficacy had a protective effect on post-pregnancy anxiety and post-pregnancy depression. Additionally, higher scores on Maternal Self-Efficacy predicted smaller changes between pre- and post-pregnancy anxiety and depression scores and those with higher Maternal Self-Efficacy had lower odds of anxiety and depression. Conversely, higher scores for Perceived Racism were predictive of post-pregnancy anxiety and post-pregnancy depression. Perceived racism predicted larger changes between pre- and post-pregnancy anxiety and depression scores and those with higher Perceived Racism had greater odds of anxiety and depression. This indicates the need for a multi-level community-based participatory research approach to creating culturally sensitive and appropriate health education programs. Programs need to address the self-efficacy of adolescent mothers of color by offering support and teaching the skills to be competent mothers. Additionally, programs should equip participants with coping mechanisms to mitigate psychological distress resulting from perceived racism.