This study aimed to investigate the association between child maltreatment and depressive symptomatology during gestation in adolescents.
This was a cross-sectional study with pregnant adolescents aged 12 to 19 years. Data were collected with the Beck Depression Inventory, Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, and Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview.
Compared to adolescents who did not experience each type of neglect or abuse, experiencing them was associated with a higher proportion of depressive symptoms: emotional neglect PR = 1.4 (95% CI 1.1; 1.8); physical neglect PR = 1.7 (95% CI 1.3; 1.7); emotional abuse PR = 1.8 (95% CI 1.4; 2.2); and physical abuse PR = 1.3 (95% CI 1.1; 1.7).
This study demonstrates the association between childhood experiences and mental health in adolescence, especially in vulnerable samples, such as pregnant adolescents. This finding reveals the importance of studying early trauma in life and enabling preventive help, especially in adolescents. High-quality evidence of perinatal mental health problems should be generated to make pregnancy safer for women in low- and middle-income countries.