Women are at their greatest risk for depression during their childbearing years.
In a study from the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, scientists found depression is indeed associated with a lower likelihood of having children among men and women.
The team used the unique Finnish register data with over 1.4 million participants.
They 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.
The team found 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.
The team found 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.
The study further examined whether there were any educational differences in the association between depression and the likelihood of having children.
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.
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.
If you care about depression, please read studies that vegetarian diet may increase your depression risk, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.
For more information about nutrition, please see the recent about why pizza is a very addictive food, and MIND diet could improve cognitive health in older people.
The study was conducted by Kateryna Golovina et al and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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