, Volume 12, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 110-118
Date: 03 May 2008

Depressive Symptoms Among Reservation-based Pregnant American Indian Adolescents


Objectives To examine rates and correlates of depressive symptoms among pregnant reservation-based American Indian (AI) adolescents from the Southwestern United States (= 53). Methods Data were derived from a study evaluating a home-visiting program designed to promote positive parenting among young families. Participants included a volunteer, convenience sample of expectant mothers who completed behavioral and mental health self-report questionnaires. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale (CES-D). Three risk domains were analyzed in relation to depressive symptoms: sociodemographics, family relations, and psychosocial functioning. Results Forty-seven percent of expectant mothers scored at or above the widely accepted clinical cutoff score of 16 on the CES-D; 30% scored at or above 20, a score more likely to reflect elevated depressive symptoms among adolescents; and almost 20% scored at or above 28 (one standard deviation above the mean), a score suggestive of clinical depression. Higher levels of depressive symptoms were associated with less use of public assistance, external locus of control, less social support, and lower self-esteem. Conclusions Data suggest that a large proportion of pregnant AI adolescents reported elevated depressive symptoms, though rates are similar to non-pregnant AI adolescent samples.