Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Jacques Lempers


In recent decades, scholars and politicians have debated the socioeconomic effects of adolescent pregnancy for individuals, families, and society. Pregnant and parenting adolescents often must cope with a lack of resources as they struggle to negotiate the tasks of motherhood and adolescence. Previous research has determined that young mothers have an increased rate of depression when compared to older mothers (Sarri & Phillips, 2004).;In this study, self-perceived resource adequacy, income, and education at approximately six months after birth were investigated as predictors of depression at approximately 14 and 36 months after birth in adolescent mothers (N = 523). It was hypothesized that increased self-perceived resources will be related to lower levels of depression while controlling for education and income, and education and income will be related to lower levels of depression while controlling for self-perceived resources. Environment (urban vs. non-urban) will also be used as a second-level predictor in a multilevel model.;Education was a significant predictor of depression in the expected direction at 14 (but not 36 months) while controlling for age and income. However, when self-perceived resources were added to the model, self-perceived resources were significant, whereas education was not. In general, self-perceived resources accounted for a statistically significant amount of variance in depression at 14 and 36 months while controlling for other factors, as adolescent mothers with greater self-perceived resources were less likely to be depressed. Urban vs. non-urban environmental setting did not significantly predict depression.;Future researchers would be wise to focus on a young woman's view of her situation, as it appears that self-perceived resources play a role the prediction of depressive symptoms. It would be useful to tease apart the causal relationship between self-perceived resources and depression by assessing both among adolescent mothers at several points in time. If a young women's perceptions of her strengths impacts her level of depression at a later point, social workers and nurses would be helping to prevent depression by guiding clients to emphasize the positive aspects of their motherhood.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Elaine M. Eshbaugh



Proquest ID


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File Size

121 pages