Roles of wantedness of pregnancy and childbearing on depression among married adolescent girls in Bangladesh: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional survey
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International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, 68 Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Sarani, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Data for Impact, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
IAP World Services, United States
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1267
Near half of the adolescent (15-19 years) girls in Bangladesh are married. Complex physical and emotional states lost childhood in marriage and childbearing affects their mental well-being. One of the adverse consequences is living with major depressive disorder (MDD). We aim to examine the MMD among currently married female adolescents aged 15-19 (CMFA) by their wantedness of pregnancy and birth.

We used data from the nationally representative 2019 Bangladesh Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Survey that collected data on MDD from 2280 CMFAs, and adopted the patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) to assess MDD. We examined MDD by seven statuses – no child, pregnancy wanted or later, a child born in the last 0-5 months wanted then or later, and a child born in the last 6+ months wanted then or later. Finally, a multivariable logistic regression model adjusts MDD for background characteristics.

15% of the CMFAs had MDD with wide variation across childbearing status. While 13% of the CMFAs with no child had MDD, it was 17% among pregnant CMFAs if the pregnancy was wanted, and 24% for unwanted pregnancies. MDD levels among CMFAs having a birth in the last 0-5 months by wantedness of the child were similar to that of wantedness of pregnancy. However, MDD among CMFAs who had birth before six months was close to CMFAs with no child. CMFAs with unwanted pregnancy and birth in 0-5 months were found to have significantly higher MDD after controlling for socio-demographic and marital characteristics, gender attitude, and recent experience of physical violence, sexual harassment, and verbal bullying.

Unwanted childbearing increases MDD among CMFAs in Bangladesh. However, a playful child aged six months and above perhaps helps her to be normal. Social awareness and strengthening family planning programs may protect CMFAs from MDD.

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