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Much has been written about depression and its risk factors, particularly among women. However, a growing body of literature on prenatal depression has begun to emerge, given that depression during pregnancy presents a major public health concern, since it is found to be a common experience among childbearing aged women (Gaynes et al., 2005; Marcus, 2009). In fact, the onset of depressive symptoms is most likely to occur between 20 to 40 years of age, the range when most women become pregnant (Marcus & Heringhausen, 2009). Further, prior studies have found rates of depression among pregnant women to range from ten to thirty percent (Gotlieb et al., 1989; Kurki et al., 2002). Importantly, depression during pregnancy can have adverse effects not only for the mother, but the unborn child as well. For example, it has been noted that depressive symptoms can lead to an increased risk for negative birth outcomes such as low birth weight and preterm delivery (Marcus, 2009; Marcus & Heringhausen, 2009), and can also result in serious effects after pregnancy, including the mother’s own psychosocial functioning, poor mother-child relation, and the psychosocial development of the child (Boyd, Zayas, & McKee, 2006; Cicchetti, Rogosch, & Toth, 1998; Downey & Coyne, 1990). Therefore, the goal of this paper was to examinesociodemographic, psychosocial, and behavioral factors that influence depressive symptoms among high-risk African American pregnant women.


This is the accepted manuscript of the article published in Womens Health Issues.


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