Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 789–800 | Cite as

Examining the Links Between Perceived Impact of Pregnancy, Depressive Symptoms, and Quality of Life During Adolescent Pregnancy: The Buffering Role of Social Support

  • Raquel PiresEmail author
  • Anabela Araújo-Pedrosa
  • Maria Cristina Canavarro


The aims of the current study were to examine the indirect effect of the perceived impact of pregnancy on quality of life (QoL) through the severity of depressive symptoms among a sample of pregnant adolescents, and to explore whether adolescents’ satisfaction with support from their mothers (SM) or partners (SP) was a buffer of this effect. Demographic and pregnancy-related data were collected for 395 pregnant adolescents age 12–19 and were controlled for testing the proposed indirect effect. SM and SP were tested as moderators of the links between perceived impact of pregnancy and depressive symptoms and between depressive symptoms and QoL. A computational tool for path analysis-based moderation and mediation analysis as well as their combination was used to test indirect and interaction effects (PROCESS). A significant indirect effect of the perceived impact of pregnancy on QoL through the severity of depressive symptoms was found (0.51, CI = 0.29/0.78). There was no significant direct effect of the perceived impact of pregnancy on QoL after controlling for the severity of depressive symptoms. SM and SP buffered the indirect effect by weakening the association between a negative perception of the impact of pregnancy and higher severity of depressive symptoms. Identifying adolescents with a negative perception of the impact of pregnancy, improving the quality of their relations with their mothers and partners, and promoting satisfactory support from these figures may be extremely important to prevent and treat depressive symptoms and, in so doing, improve adolescents’ QoL during pregnancy.


Adolescent pregnancy Depressive symptoms Perceived impact of pregnancy Quality of life Social support 



This study is part of the “Adolescent pregnancy in Portugal: Etiology, reproductive decision, and adjustment” research project, integrated in the Relationships, Development & Health Research Group of the R&D Unit Institute of Cognitive Psychology, Vocational and Social Development of the University of Coimbra (PEst-OE/PSI/UI0192/2011). Raquel Pires was supported by a PhD Scholarship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT-SFRH/BD/63949/2009). This PhD Scholarship is co-financed by the European Social Fund. The authors wish to thank all the adolescents who collaborated with this research project, the health services that enabled the sample collection, the Portuguese Family Planning Association, and the Sexual, Maternal and Child Health Division of the Portuguese Directorate-General of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raquel Pires
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Anabela Araújo-Pedrosa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maria Cristina Canavarro
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Educational SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Psychological Intervention Unit of the Maternity Doctor Daniel de Matos, Centro HospitalarUniversitário de Coimbra, E.P.E.CoimbraPortugal

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