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Examining sources of Social Support and Depression Prevention Among Pregnant Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Outcomes of a Seven-City Study


Young adults experiencing homelessness (YAEH) with pregnancy history are at higher depression risk. Receiving social support is protective for depression in pregnancy. This study differentiates social support sources associated with depression by pregnancy history among YAEH.

Using a subsample of data collected from YAEH in seven US cities that were collected through REALYST, we conducted stratified logistic regression models (by pregnancy history) to identify support sources associated with depression. Logistic regression analysis including the interaction term (i.e., pregnancy history x support sources) using the full sample was then conducted.

A higher proportion with pregnancy history reported depression compared to those without. Support from home-based peers was significantly associated with reduced depression risks among YAEH with pregnancy history, but not among youth without. Home-based supports were less frequently indicated by homeless female youth with pregnancy experience.

Home-based social support is protective against major depression for YAEH with pregnancy experience. Findings of this study suggest that interventions addressing depression among YAEH should take their pregnancy history and social support sources into consideration. Specifically, for YAEH with pregnancy history, facilitating supportive social ties with home-based peers may be promising in reducing their depression risks.

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Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness


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We greatly appreciate the young adults for their time and efforts participating in this study. We also thank all the homeless service providers who collaborated with us on this project. This research received support from the Greater Houston Community Foundation Funders Together to End Homelessness (Diane Santa Maria and Sarah Narendorf), F31MH108446 (Robin Petering), and Arizona State University Institute for Social Science Research (Kristin Ferguson).

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Correspondence to Shannon M. Canfield Ph.D. MPH.

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None of the authors have any real or perceived conflict of interest with respect to the current study.

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Canfield, S.M., Hsu, HT., Begun, S. et al. Examining sources of Social Support and Depression Prevention Among Pregnant Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Outcomes of a Seven-City Study. J Primary Prevent 43, 317–325 (2022).

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  • Homelessness
  • Youth
  • Young adults
  • Pregnancy
  • Mental health
  • Depression
  • Social support