Do Prior Attitudes Matter for Mental Health after Teen Childbirth?

Tanya Rouleau, Ohio State University

The relationship between teen childbearing and mental health has been extensively studied; however, little is known about how individual attitudes shape this association. This study used data from Add Health to investigate whether the relationship between teen childbearing and adult depression is moderated by adolescent attitudes toward becoming pregnant. The results showed that, controlling for selection into teen childbearing, women who had first births between ages 16 and 19 experienced no more depressive symptoms in adulthood than women who had first births at age 20 or older. Furthermore, among women who had positive adolescent pregnancy attitudes, those who had teen births experienced greater declines in depression than those who had adult first births. Additionally, this paper examined variation in these findings by race/ethnicity and SES.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Health of Women, Children, and Families