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Steinberg examines role of depression in unintended pregnancy

University of Maryland Tier One grant funds research

The University of Maryland selected Faculty Associate Julia Steinberg as one of 12 Tier-One Research Grant awardees for 2018.

In the U.S., 52.8% of pregnancies among women ages 18-29 are unintended and 15.9% of women in this age group experience a major or minor depressive episode each year. It is desirable that women or couples plan their pregnancies in order to choose when to become parents. Furthermore because unintended pregnancies are associated with negative outcomes for women, children, families, and society, it is important to prevent unintended pregnancies. Contraceptive behaviors are key determinants of unintended pregnancy. Specifically, 54% of unintended pregnancies are due to not using contraception and another 41% are due to incorrect or inconsistent contraceptive use. This project will pilot a prospective cohort study specifically designed to examine the role of depression in contraceptive behaviors. This is a unique opportunity that builds from existing relationships with community partners and will allow Dr. Steinberg to (1) collect data from 50 women for 6-12 months, (2) recruit women seeking various reproductive services, (3) investigate potential mediators or moderators of the relationship between depression and contraceptive behaviors or unintended pregnancy, and (4) gather pilot data for another project on abortion and subsequent mental health.