How Were Oral Contraceptives, Concurrent Depressive Symptoms Associated Among Adolescents, Young Women?

JAMA Psychiatry


Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Anouk E. de Wit, B.Sc., email The full study is linked to this news release.

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Bottom Line: This observational study examined associations between depressive symptoms and oral contraceptive use in adolescents and young women and how those associations might differ by age. Oral contraceptive use has been associated with increased risk for subsequent depression in adolescents. The study included about 1,000 girls and young women in the Netherlands who completed at least 1 of 4 assessments about their oral contraceptive use and depressive symptoms at ages 16, 19, 22 and 25. Authors report oral contraceptive use showed no association with depressive symptoms when all the age groups were combined. However, 16-year-old girls who used oral contraceptives reported higher depressive symptoms scores and were more likely to report crying, eating problems and excessive sleepiness than those who didn’t use oral contraceptives. Limitations of the study include causal inferences cannot be made, and the results may not be generalizable to other countries where access to contraception and the acceptability of its use are different.

Authors: Anouk E. de Wit, B.Sc., University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and coauthors.



Editor’s Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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