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Primary Care

Depression and unintended pregnancy in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth: a cohort study

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 19 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:151
  1. David C Reardon, director of research (,
  2. Jesse R Cougle, researcher
  1. Elliot Institute, PO Box 7348, Springfield, IL 62791-7348, USA
  1. Correspondence to: D C Reardon
  • Accepted 29 August 2001

Psychological maladjustments after abortion are significantly associated with a history of depression.1 It has been suggested that prior psychological state is equally predictive of subsequent depression among women with unintended pregnancies regardless of whether they abort or carry to term.1 To examine this hypothesis we examined the National Longitudinal Study of Youth begun in 1979 with a nationwide cohort of 12 686 American youths aged 14-21.

Methods and results

The outcome variable of interest, depression, was assessed in 1992 for a subset of 4463 women using the Center for Epidemiological Studies depression (CES-D) scale scored by professional interviewers. This 20 item scale has good test-retest reliability among diverse population subgroups. In 1992 women were also asked whether their first delivered pregnancy had been the result of an intended pregnancy. Women who responded “yes” or “didn't …

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