Association Between Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence and Birth Outcomes in Adulthood Using a Population-Based Sample


Nkansah-Amankra, Stephen & Tettey, Grace E. (2014). Association Between Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence and Birth Outcomes in Adulthood Using a Population-Based Sample. The American College of Epidemiology. Silver Spring, MD: Annals of Epidemiology.


Purpose Adolescent female depressive symptomatology is an unrecognized mood disorder that impairs health in adolescence or adulthood. Despite this, the long term effects of pre-pregnancy depressive symptoms on birth outcomes (low birth weight-LBW and preterm births-PTB) have not been given adequate empirical assessments. Method We evaluated the relationship between the life time duration of depressive symptoms over a 14 year period and birth outcomes among a sample of 6023 female respondents who took part in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health using the generalized estimating equation models. Results Exposure to elevated depressive symptoms in late adolescence, but not in adulthood was associated with increased odds of LBW by more than 2-fold in early and young adulthoods (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] =2.19; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.56, 3.08). The association between high depressive symptoms in adolescence and odds of LBW or PTB in early adulthood or young adulthood was higher for black mothers. Maternal race was effect modifier in these relationships. Conclusion Effects of elevated depressive symptomatology on LBW or PTB appear to be linked to specific development period in adolescence, but not in adulthood. Health and social interventions across the life cycle targeting girls and young women prior to pregnancy may profoundly impact on maternal health care and that of their infants as an inseparable whole. National policies to address social inequalities and stratification particularly in health at all stages of human development will provide an important step in reducing depressive symptoms prior to early adulthood and in pregnancy.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

The American College of Epidemiology


Nkansah-Amankra, Stephen
Tettey, Grace E.

Year Published


Volume Number







Annals of Epidemiology

City of Publication

Silver Spring, MD





Reference ID