People With Depression Are Less Likely To Have Children - Neuroscience News - Gatous News

People With Depression Are Less Likely to Have Children – Neuroscience News

Summary: Men with depression are 33% less likely to have children, and depressed women are 15% less likely to have children than their peers who do not suffer from depression. Additionally, women are more likely to suffer symptoms of depression during their childbearing years.

sources: University of Helsinki

Women are at their greatest risk for depression during their childbearing years, and according to a recent study published in the prestigious American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecologydepression is indeed associated with a lower likelihood of having children among men and women.

Drawing on the unique Finnish register data, this study with over 1.4 million participants examined the associations between diagnosed depression and the likelihood of having children, the number of children, and the age at first birth for all men and women born in Finland between 1960 and 1980.

“One of the main results was that depression was associated with a lower likelihood of having children and a lower number of children among men and women. Depression was also linked to a slightly lower age at first birth”, says principal investigator Kateryna Golovina from the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.

Men with even mild depression have a lower likelihood of having children

Men diagnosed with depression had 33% lower odds of having a child compared to men without depression; women diagnosed with depression had 15% lower odds of having a child than women without depression.

An important observation was that the severity of depression was associated with a likelihood of having children: for men, even mild depression was related to a lower likelihood of having children, whereas for women the link was found only for severe depression.

Socioeconomic differences in the association between depression and the likelihood of having children

The study further examined whether there were any educational differences in the association between depression and the likelihood of having children.

Men diagnosed with depression had 33% lower odds of having a child compared to men without depression; women diagnosed with depression had 15% lower odds of having a child than women without depression. Image is in the public domain

“Among men and women with secondary and higher education, depression was related to a lower likelihood of having children and having fewer children. As for the participants with basic education, no associations were observed for men, whereas for women depression was related to a higher likelihood of having children,” says Kateryna Golovina.

Early prevention and on-time treatment of depression are crucial

The findings have clinical implications, suggesting that depression is one of the factors contributing to the likelihood of having children, which is why early prevention and on-time treatment of depression are crucial. For example, timely screening for depression can be implemented by increasing the availability of mental health professionals or it can be done by obstetrician-gynecologists and women’s health providers.

For men, the severity of depression should be considered, given that already milder depression may have more negative health and behavioral effects for them compared to women.

“Overall, our results give another motivation to provide accessible mental health services to young people and implement low-threshold interventions and therapies,” states Professor Marko Elovainio from the Faculty of Medicine.

Funding: The study was conducted in collaboration between the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. Funding was provided by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, and the Academy of Finland.

About this depression research news

Author: Anu Koivusipila
sources: University of Helsinki
Contact: Anu Koivusipila – University of Helsinki
Image: The image is in the public domain

OriginalResearch: open access.
“Association between depression and the likelihood of having children: a nationwide register study in Finland” by Kateryna Golovina et al. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Abstracts

Association between depression and the likelihood of having children: a nationwide register study in Finland

Background

Depression may be associated with a lower likelihood of having children, but the findings are inconsistent. Previous population-based studies on this topic are limited.

lenses

We examined associations between depression and the likelihood of having children, the number of children, and the parental age at first birth. We also evaluated whether these associations differ for people with low, middle, and high educational levels.

study design

We conducted a nationwide register cohort study including all individuals born in Finland from 1960 to 1980 (n=1,408,951). Depression diagnoses were identified from the Care Register for Health Care (containing records of inpatient hospital episodes for the period 1969 to 2017 and of specialist outpatient visits for the period 1996 to 2017). The main outcomes—having biological children, the number of biological children, and the parental age at first birth—were identified from the Population Register of Statistics Finland and were defined either in the last year of the follow-up in 2017 or the last year alive or living in Finland. The association between depression and the likelihood of having children was examined using a logistic regression analysis; the association between depression and the number of children was evaluated using Poisson regression analyses, and the association between depression and the age at first birth was evaluated using a linear regression analysis. All analyzes were conducted separately for men and women.

results

For both men and women, secondary care–treated depression was associated with a lower likelihood of having children (odds ratio, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.64–0.67 for men; odds ratio, 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.82–0.85 for women) and with having fewer children (incidence rate ratio, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.86–0.87 for men; incidence rate ratio, 0.96; 95% confidence interval, 0.96–0.96 for women). Depression was associated with a slightly lower parental age at first birth (33.1 vs 34.0; P<.001 forms; 31.3 vs 32.1; P<.001 for women). Dose-response associations between the severity of depression and a decreased likelihood of having children, as well as having fewer children, were observed. Earlier onset of depression was related to a lower likelihood of having children and to having fewer children. Among men and women in middle- and high-level educational groups, depression was associated with a lower likelihood of having children and with having fewer children. Among men with a low level of education, no associations were observed. Among women with a low level of education, depression was associated with a higher likelihood of having children and with having more children.

Conclusion

Both men and women with secondary care-treated depression have a lower likelihood of having children and have fewer children. Our findings suggest that depression may be one of the factors that contribute to the likelihood of having children, which should be addressed by policy makers.

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