Psychological Health and Life Experiences of Pregnant Adolescent Mothers in Jamaica
ABSTRACT A recent Jamaican school-based survey revealed that 23.1% of 13-15 year-olds, had attempted suicide one or more times during the last 12 months. Research that links adolescent pregnancy and suicidal behaviour is lacking in Jamaica. Psychological distress and suicidal behaviours amongst pregnant adolescents elsewhere in the Americas has been documented at prevalence of between 13.3%-20%. The purpose of the study was to explore the experiences and the impact of pregnancy on pregnant adolescent psychological health. Individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with adolescents in two Jamaican antenatal clinics. One clinic was designed as a 'Teen Pregnancy Clinic' and the other used the standard antenatal clinic design. The following themes were identified: decision-making, resilience, social support, community support system, distress, and perceptions of service. Participants reported positively on the specific interventions tailored to their needs at the Teen Clinic. Although motherhood is valued, none of the pregnancies in this study were planned by the mother. Of the 30 adolescents interviewed, seven cases were referred for counseling due to their need for emotional and psychological support. One of the adolescents reported recent sexual violence and another reported having experienced childhood sexual abuse. Historically, Jamaican adolescent mothers faced barriers to education, self determination, and family planning. Empowering, adolescent-centred healthcare and comprehensive reproductive health education may mitigate psychosocial distress.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Joanna Bennett, May 20, 2014
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ABSTRACT: Suicidal behavior and its correlates remain relatively understudied in pregnant teenagers. A cross-sectional study with a consecutive sample of pregnant teenagers recipient of prenatal medical assistance by the national public health system in the urban area of Pelotas, southern Brazil. Sample size was estimated in 871 participants. Suicidal behavior and psychiatric disorders were assessed with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview; the Abuse Assessment Screen was used to identify physical or sexual abuse; social support was assessed with the Medical Outcomes Survey Social Support Scale; a self-report questionnaire was used to collect socio-demographic, obstetric and other psychosocial data. Forty three (4.94%) teenagers refused to participate, resulting in 828 participants. Prevalence of suicidal behavior was 13.3%; lifetime suicide attempts were referred by 7.4%, with 1.3% reporting attempting suicide within the last month. After adjustment, we found significant associations of suicidal behavior with the 18-19 years old subgroup, low education, prior abortion, previous major depression, and physical abuse within the last 12 months. Pregnant teenagers with high social support showed prevalence ratios (PR) 67% lower (PR: 0.33; 95%CI: 0.19-0.56) than those with low social support. Furthermore, a wide range of psychiatric disorders, most notably major depressive disorder (PR: 2.75; 95%CI: 1.34-5.63) and panic disorder (PR: 6.36; 95%CI: 1.61-25.10), remained associated with suicidal behavior after adjustment. The cross-sectional design precludes causal inferences. We found that suicidal behavior is a relatively common feature in pregnant teenagers, frequently associated with psychiatric disorders.Journal of Affective Disorders 11/2011; 136(3):520-5. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2011.10.037 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The high levels of depression among teenage mothers have received considerable research attention in smaller targeted samples, but a large-scale examination of the complex relationship between adolescent childbearing and psychological distress that explores bidirectional causality is needed. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study--Birth Cohort, we found that teenage mothers had higher levels of distress than their childless adolescent peers and adult mothers, but the experience of teenage childbearing did not appear to be the cause. Rather teenage mothers' distress levels were already higher than their peers before they became pregnant, and they remained higher after childbearing and into early and middle adulthood. We also found that distress did not increase the likelihood of adolescent childbearing except among poor teenagers. In this group, experiencing high levels of distress markedly increased the probability of becoming a teenage mother Among nonpoor teenage girls, the relationship between distress and subsequent teenage childbearing was spurious.Journal of Health and Social Behavior 10/2009; 50(3):310-26. DOI:10.1177/002214650905000305 · 2.72 Impact Factor
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