Monday, December 9, 2002
Unmarried moms more likely to suffer depression
A story released today by the BBC News reports that according to researchers in the United States, unmarried mothers are more likely to suffer depression than other women.
Researchers also found that the absence of their natural father during their childhood may leave some women prone to depression.
Dr Ariel Kalil of the University of Chicago and Dr James Kunz of the University of Maryland looked at information collected as part of the US National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.
Women who took part in the survey answered questions that measured depressive symptoms, such as feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, loneliness, loss of appetite, restless sleep and concentration problems.
The survey indicated that women who gave birth outside marriage were most likely to become depressed in their late 20s.
This applied to women who gave birth both before and after their 18th birthday.
The survey also suggested those whose natural fathers weren't living in the home, or who lived with their stepfather at the age of 14, were also more likely to become depressed.
Briony Hallam, deputy director of UK charity Depression Alliance, said the findings could prove useful.
"Information like this can help health professionals to identify people at risk," said Hallam.
"It can also help individuals themselves who can then take steps to change their lives and to build up social contacts so that they are not so isolated."
She added: "A large number of factors work together to make people more vulnerable to be depression.
"In this case, it may be more to do with a lack of support and social isolation rather than the fact that they had a baby outside marriage."