Background: Pregnancy, whether intended or unintended, is associated with internalizing symptoms among women; for some, these symptoms cause impairment and develop into an internalizing disorder (ID). With the growing diversity of the US population, there is a need to understand how pregnancy relates to IDs among minorities. This study examines the association between unintended pregnancy and lifetime and 12-month history of IDs among Latina and Asian mothers.
Methods: Data come from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS), a nationally representative sample of Latino and Asian adults. Pregnancy intention was self-reported. ID history was assessed with the CIDI (DSM-IV). Logistic regression was used to examine the association between pregnancy intention and likelihood of lifetime and 12-month IDs.
Results: Among 1915 mothers, 24.1% and 14.7% met criteria for a lifetime and 12-month ID, respectively. Relative to those who only reported intended pregnancies, Asian mothers reporting an unintended pregnancy had the highest odds of lifetime (Odds ratio (OR): 2.51, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.55-4.08) and 12-month IDs (OR: 5.73, 95% CI: 2.67-12.29). Latina mothers reporting unintended pregnancies also had higher odds of lifetime (OR: 1.96, 95% CI: 1.41-2.72) and 12-month IDs (OR: 1.70, 95% CI: 1.12-2.59). Socioeconomic status had no significant modifying effect.
Limitations: Cross-sectional data and retrospective recall and social desirability could misclassify pregnancy intention.
Conclusions: Unintended pregnancy is associated with higher odds of IDs among mothers. Findings underscore the complex relationship between unintended pregnancy and maternal mental health.
Keywords: Asian; Internalizing disorders; Latino; Socioeconomic status; Unintended pregnancy.
Published by Elsevier B.V.