McMaster University, Canada researchers have found that two of three young teenage mothers suffer at least one mental health problem including depression, anxiety or hyperactivity. This is up to four times higher than in mothers aged above 21 years and teens without children, the researchers concluded in a study published in Journal of Adolescent Health (February).
For the study, the researchers surveyed 450 mothers aged below 21 and 100 comparison mothers aged older than 20 at the time of their first child delivery. “Young mothers face a great deal of adversity both before and after becoming parents, yet next-to-nothing is known about the rates and types of significant mental health problems among these women in our community. The study findings can be used to develop better screening processes and more effectively detect mental health problems in teenage mothers, to provide direct treatment,” says Ryan Van Lieshout, lead researcher and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences, McMaster University.