Identified needs of peripartum adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa from 2013 to 2021: a mapping of domains for strengthening psychosocial interventions

Curr Opin Psychol. 2022 Jun:45:101291. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2021.12.003. Epub 2021 Dec 15.


Adolescent pregnancy and early motherhood pose significant socioeconomic and health risks in Sub-Saharan Africa, leading to considerable morbidity and mortality. To learn more about the needs of this population, we reviewed 24 articles featuring 21 samples covering 12,490 adolescents from 14 countries. Our coding revealed that adolescent mothers were studied more (85.7% of samples) than pregnant adolescents (61.9%). We summarized needs as per six categories. Resource needs were most prevalent, reported by 100% of samples, followed by ecology (85.7%), mental health (76.2%), medical (61.9%), other (61.9%), and education (33.3%). The most frequently reported resource needs were low income and unemployment. Low social support, low family functioning, and exposure to negative cultural norms were ecological needs prevalent in most samples. Among mental health concerns, depression was the most commonly reported problem, whereas other problems, such as anxiety, substance use, and suicidality, were reported much less frequently. HIV-positive status was the most frequently reported medical concern. Intervention developers should consider the range of challenges when designing psychosocial services for this population.

Keywords: Evidence based interventions; Mental health needs; Peripartum adolescents; Sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Peripartum Period*
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychosocial Intervention*
  • Social Support