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The mental health of young Canadian mothers

TitleThe mental health of young Canadian mothers
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsVan Lieshout, R. J., Savoy C. D., Boyle M. H., Georgiades K., Jack S. M., Niccols A., Whitty H., and Lipman E. L.
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Pages464 - 469
Keywordsadolescent, mental disorders, mothers, postpartum period, young adult

Purpose Although many young mothers (aged 20 years old at first delivery) living in urban and rural central-west Ontario. Age-matched young mothers were also compared with 15- to 17-year-old women without children (N = 630) from the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study. The prevalence of current mental disorders was assessed using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Children and Adolescents. Results Nearly 2 of 3 young mothers reported at least one mental health problem, and almost 40% had more than one. Young mothers were 2 to 4 times as likely to have an anxiety disorder (generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, and specific phobia), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or conduct disorder and were 2 to 4 times more likely to have more than one psychiatric problem than older comparison mothers or women aged 15-17 years. Conclusions Given the high rates of mental health problems and complex needs of young mothers in Canada and the possible adverse effects of maternal psychopathology on their children, further efforts should be directed at engaging and treating this high-risk group.

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