Postpartum depression and social support in adolescents

J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. Jan-Feb 2005;34(1):46-54. doi: 10.1177/0884217504272802.


Objective: The purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of a social support intervention delivered to pregnant adolescent girls between 32 and 36 weeks of gestation in preventing symptoms of depression at 6 weeks postpartum.

Design: The study used a repeated measures design.

Setting: Data were collected at a teenage parenting program, an educational option of the public school system.

Participants: Participants (n = 128) were pregnant and postpartum adolescents.

Main outcome measure: Symptoms of depression at 6 weeks postpartum.

Intervention: Participants completed the Postpartum Support Questionnaire, Rosenberg's Self-Esteem instrument, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression instrument at baseline, then were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups (pamphlet, video, or pamphlet plus video) or the control group. The content of the intervention was based on a synthesis of the literature describing social support needed and desired by postpartum adolescents.

Results: No significant differences were found in Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression instrument scores among the groups at 6 weeks postpartum. Using path analysis, the authors found that predictors of symptoms of depression at 6 weeks postpartum were (a) receiving more support from friends, family, and others and (b) having low self-esteem.

Conclusion: These findings differ from earlier studies, and both research and clinical implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control*
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / psychology*
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Probability
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires