Depressive symptoms among reservation-based pregnant American Indian adolescents

Golda S. Ginsburg*, Elena Varipatis Baker, Britta C. Mullany, Allison Barlow, Novalene Goklish, Ranelda Hastings, Audrey E. Thurm, Kristen Speakman, Raymond Reid, John Walkup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine rates and correlates of depressive symptoms among pregnant reservation-based American Indian (AI) adolescents from the Southwestern United States (N = 53). Methods: Data were derived from a study evaluating a home-visiting program designed to promote positive parenting among young families. Participants included a volunteer, convenience sample of expectant mothers who completed behavioral and mental health self-report questionnaires. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale (CES-D). Three risk domains were analyzed in relation to depressive symptoms: sociodemographics, family relations, and psychosocial functioning. Results: Forty-seven percent of expectant mothers scored at or above the widely accepted clinical cutoff score of 16 on the CES-D; 30% scored at or above 20, a score more likely to reflect elevated depressive symptoms among adolescents; and almost 20% scored at or above 28 (one standard deviation above the mean), a score suggestive of clinical depression. Higher levels of depressive symptoms were associated with less use of public assistance, external locus of control, less social support, and lower self-esteem. Conclusions: Data suggest that a large proportion of pregnant AI adolescents reported elevated depressive symptoms, though rates are similar to non-pregnant AI adolescent samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S110-S118
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Adolescents
  • American Indian
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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