Exploring the Relationship Between Depression and Marijuana Abuse Among Pregnant Women in California

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Marijuana abuse and depression during pregnancy has been a major public health concern across the United States. Marijuana abuse leads to many negative effects for both the mother and the fetus. Negative effects include behavioral issues, low birth weight, and neurodevelopment problems. Depression is also a concern because of the consequences that it may have for the mother and baby especially during their bonding time. The purpose of the current study was to understand how pregnancy impacts depression and marijuana use. Understanding the impact of pregnancy between these two factors can lead to increased health education, resources, treatment and policies for women, researchers, and health professionals. This was a cross-sectional study that used the 2017 California Healthy Interview Survey. The survey interviews California residents from various age groups. Demographic and outcome data were analyzed using a Chi-Square Test of Independence. There was a total of 2,048 respondents included in the study, in which 74 reported a pregnancy. The results indicated that 12.2% (n = 9) of those who reported being pregnant also reported being depressed compared to 26.7% (n = 800) of the sample who reported not being pregnant but experiencing depression. Results indicated a significant relationship between depression and pregnancy (X2(1) = 7.907, p < .05). Those who reported a pregnancy were 62% (OR = .379) less likely to report being depressed compared to those who did not report a pregnancy. A Chi-Square Test of Independence was also conducted to analyze the relationship between marijuana abuse and pregnancy. The results indicated that there was no significant relationship between marijuana use and pregnancy (X2(1) = 3.022, p > .05). Marijuana abuse and depression are important areas that need to be addressed in order to further improve maternal health and birth outcomes across the nation.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health, Mental Health