Depression during pregnancy among young couples: the effect of personal and partner experiences of stressors and the buffering effects of social relationships.
ABSTRACT To assess the relationship between personal and romantic partner's experiences of stressful life events and depression during pregnancy, and the social moderators of this relationship, among 296 young couples with low incomes from urban areas.
We recruited couples who were expecting a baby from four ob/gyn and ultrasound clinics in southern Connecticut; women were ages 14-21 and male partners were 14+.
We analyzed self-reports of stressful events in the previous six months, depression in the past week and current interpersonal social supports. To determine the influence of personal and partner experiences of stressful events on depression, we used multilevel dyadic models and incorporated interaction terms. We also used this model to determine whether social support, family functioning and relationship satisfaction moderated the association between stressful events and depression.
Experiences of stressful life events were common; 91.2% of couples had at least one member report an event. Money, employment problems, and moving were the most common events. Personal experiences of stressful life events had the strongest association with depression among men and women; although partner experiences of stressful life events were also significantly associated with depression among women. Social support, family functioning, and romantic relationship satisfaction significantly buffered the association between personal and partner stressful events and depression.
Interventions that improve relationships, support systems, and family functioning may reduce the negative impact of stressors, experienced both personally and by a romantic partner, on the emotional well-being of young expectant parents.