Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Jeannette Ickovics


Objective: To determine whether prenatal depressive symptoms are related to sexual risk outcomes 12 months postpartum.

Methods: Participants included 757 pregnant women aged 14-21 years, mainly Latina (54.4%) and Black, non-Latina (37.0%). Women completed structured interviews during the second and third trimester of pregnancy and one-year postpartum. Depressive symptoms were measured using the affect-only items of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D). Outcomes included sexual risk behavior (percent condom use, number of partners) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) measured via laboratory testing.

Results: Prenatal depressive symptoms significantly predict a decrease in condom use one-year postpartum, even when controlling for previous risk behavior and current knowledge. There is no significant association between prenatal depressive symptoms and number of partners or diagnosed STDs.

Conclusions: Results indicate a large young, urban, pregnant women of color experience depressive symptoms, which may in turn negatively impact their condom use behaviors. Further research on prenatal depressive symptoms and its effects is needed to determine the value of screening for depression during pregnancy.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access