Open Access Research article

The effect of social support around pregnancy on postpartum depression among Canadian teen mothers and adult mothers in the maternity experiences survey

Theresa HM Kim1*, Jennifer A Connolly2 and Hala Tamim1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada

2 Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:162  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-162

Published: 7 May 2014



Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that affects 10–20 percent of women, and can begin any time during first year after delivery lasting for months. Social support may decrease risk of depression during pregnancy for women. However, literature shows that the amount of social support received during and after pregnancy is different for teen mothers and adult mothers. This study examined the effects of social support received during and after pregnancy on PPD among Canadian women and identified if the relationship was different for teen mothers compared to adult mothers.


The study was based on secondary analysis of the Maternity Experiences Survey. A total of 6,421 women with singleton live births, aged 15 years and older were analyzed. Teen mothers were identified as 15–19 years old and adult mothers were identified as 20 years and older. The main outcome of the study was PPD, which was evaluated using the Edinburg Postnatal Depression Scale. The main independent variable was social support received during pregnancy and after birth. Logistic regression was computed to assess the relationship between social support and PPD after adjusting for confounding variables and age as an interaction term. Adjusted Odds Ratios and 95% Confidence Intervals were reported.


PPD was experienced by 14.0% among teen mothers and 7.2% among adult mothers (p < .001). Overall, teen mothers reported receiving more support during pregnancy and after birth than adult mothers (p < .010). The relationship between social support and PPD did not significantly differ for teen compared to adult mothers. Both teen and adult mothers were approximately five times more likely to experience PPD if they received no support or minimal support after the birth of the baby (95% CI, 3.51-7.36).


Receiving social support especially after birth is important for mothers of all ages to reduce the risk of PPD.

Social support; Postpartum depression; Teenage pregnancy