Health

People with depression are less likely to have children

People with depression are less likely to have children

Summary: Men with depression are 33% less likely to have children, and depressed women are 15% less likely than their non-depressed peers. In addition, women are more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms during their reproductive years.

Source: University of Helsinki

Women are at the highest risk of depression in their reproductive 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 unique Finnish register data, this study with over 1.4 million participants examined the association between diagnosed depression and the likelihood of having children, number of children and 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 fewer children among men and women. Depression was also associated with a slightly lower age at first birth,” says lead researcher Kateryna Golovina from the Helsinki College for Advanced Studies.

Men with even mild depression are less likely to have children

Men diagnosed with depression were 33% less likely to have a child than men without depression; women diagnosed with depression were 15% less likely to have a child than women without depression.

An important observation is that the severity of depression is related to the likelihood of having children: for men, even mild depression was associated with a lower likelihood of having children, while for women this relationship 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 differences in education in the association between depression and the likelihood of having children.

Men diagnosed with depression were 33% less likely to have a child than men without depression; women diagnosed with depression were 15% less likely to have a child than women without depression. Image is in the public domain

“Among men and women with secondary and tertiary education, depression was associated with being less likely to have children and having fewer children. As for participants with primary education, no association was observed in men, while in women depression was associated with a higher probability of having children,” says Kateryna Golovina.

Early prevention and timely treatment of depression are crucial

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

For men, the severity of depression should be taken into account, since even milder depression may have more negative effects on health and behavior compared to women.

“All in all, our results provide another motivation for providing affordable mental health services to young people and implementing low-threshold interventions and therapies,” says Professor Marko Elovainio from the Faculty of Medicine.

financing: 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 College for Advanced Study, the University of Helsinki and the Academy of Finland.

About this depression research

Author: Anu Koivuspilä
Source: University of Helsinki
Contact: Anu Koivusipilä – University of Helsinki
picture: Image is in the public domain

Original Research: Open access.
Association between depression and likelihood of having children: a nationwide registry study in Finlandby Kateryna Golovin and others. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Abstract

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

Background

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

Goal

We examined the association between depression and the probability of having children, the number of children and the age of parents at first birth. We also assessed whether these associations differed for individuals with low, medium, and high education.

Studio design

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

The 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 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 slightly lower parental age at first birth (33.1 vs. 34.0; P<.001 for men; 31.3 vs. 32.1; P<.001 for women). Dose-response relationships were observed between severity of depression and reduced likelihood of childbearing, as well as fewer children. Earlier onset of depression was associated with a lower likelihood of childbearing and fewer children. Among men and women in the middle and high education groups, depression was associated with a lower likelihood of having children and with fewer children. No associations were observed among men with a low level of education. Among women with low levels of education, depression was associated with a greater likelihood of having children and with more children.

Conclusion

Both men and women with secondary treated depression are less likely to have children and have fewer children. Our findings suggest that depression may be one of the factors contributing to the likelihood of having children, which should be addressed by policy makers.



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