CAREGIVING HISTORY AND PRENATAL DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS IN LOW-INCOME ADOLESCENT AND YOUNG ADULT WOMEN: MODERATING AND MEDIATING EFFECTS

Authors


  • Stephanie Milan, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut; Trace S. Kershaw, Jessica Lewis, Mary Patrikios, and Jeannette R. Ickovics, Yale School of Public Health, Yale University; Claire Westdahl, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University; Sharon Schindler Rising, Centering Pregnancy and Parenting Association, Cheshire, CT.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Stephanie Milan, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, 406 Babbidge Road, Unit 1020, Storrs, CT 06269-1020. E-mail: Stephanie.milan@uconn.edu

Abstract

Prenatal depressive symptoms have been linked to negative outcomes for mothers and children. Using attachment theory as a framework, this study examined developmental differences in the interpersonal context of prenatal depressive symptoms among adolescents (age 14 to 19 years; n= 352) and young adults (age 20 to 24 years; n= 348). Participants included low-income, single, predominantly African American and Latina women. Moderating and mediating factors were found in the relation between caregiving history (perceived unavailability and inconsistency of maternal and paternal figures during childhood) and depressive symptoms. For pregnant adolescents, maternal unavailability predicted depressive symptoms whereas maternal inconsistency did not. In contrast, for pregnant young women, only maternal inconsistency predicted depressive symptoms; and this association was mediated by perceptions of prenatal support. For both groups, paternal caregiving history had a small yet independent association with depressive symptoms. Results highlight the need to consider developmental differences in the interpersonal context of prenatal depressive symptoms in delivering mental health interventions to young women of color.

Ancillary