Various studies have demonstrated that adolescent mothers are at high risk of postpartum depression (PPD).  Risk factors for adolescent PPD have not been well characterized.  A recent study from the Rhode Island Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System suggests that risk factors for PPD may be different in adolescent versus adult mothers.

Notable differences in risk as defined by odds ratios (OR):

Adolescents                                                  Adults

Hispanic race                                   OR = 0.99                                                    OR = 3.32

Pre-pregnancy alcohol use               OR = 2.04                                                    OR = 0.49

Unplanned pregnancy                       OR=1.05                                                     OR= 2.67

In predictive models, adolescent postpartum depressive symptoms were most influenced by prior depression and inadequacy of social supports.   Adult postpartum depressive symptoms were associated with these, as well as other, risk factors including maternal race, unplanned pregnancy, socioeconomic status, recent stressors, and depression during pregnancy.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Nunes AP, Phipps MG. Postpartum Depression in Adolescent and Adult Mothers: Comparing Prenatal Risk Factors and Predictive Models. Matern Child Health J 2012 Aug 12.