School for Social Work
This study attempted to answer the question of whether there is a relationship between a woman's history of depression and her feelings and attitudes about having children. No research has been done on this precise topic; therefore this study was also intended to ascertain whether this issue was substantial enough to warrant further research and investigation. A mixed method online 16-item questionnaire was completed by 66 participants, 60 of whom met inclusion criteria and were included in the findings. Two qualitative questions were included in order to illuminate the quantitative data. Participants were asked about their experience with depression, interest in having children, whether depression impacted their feelings about having children and if so, in what way. Study participants were significantly depressed or had experienced significant depression, with 95% of participants affirming that their depression had interfered with their functioning and impacted their quality of life. The resulting data was mixed. The responses of approximately half the women surveyed supported a clear link between a history of depression and concerns about having children. A substantial number of participants indicated that their depression made them reluctant to become pregnant, though 85% of respondents affirmed that they would like to have children at some point in their lives. The findings indicate that this is a vital issue for some women and impacts attitudes and feelings about having children for a substantial percentage of the population surveyed.
Sadavoy, Beth, ""Bearing the weight of a mother's mood" : does a history of depression influence a woman's attitudes about having children?" (2008). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.