About this Research Topic

Manuscript Submission Deadline 05 November 2022

The World Health Organization defines reproductive health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes'. Like physical health and social well-being, ...

The World Health Organization defines reproductive health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes'. Like physical health and social well-being, mental health is a key part of achieving good reproductive health.

Over the past decade, an increasing amount of research has highlighted a bi-directional relationship between reproductive health and mental health. On one hand, sexual and reproductive ill health events lead to poor mental health outcomes: studies in both the global south and global north report elevated rates of depression, suicide attempts, and anxiety disorders among adolescent girls becoming pregnant or mothers; and among young people exposed to sexual violence. On the other hand, mental health challenges can heighten reproductive health vulnerabilities. Individuals with psychological problems (such as substance abuse) are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors which can increase their chances of having negative outcomes such as early pregnancies, or HIV.

Although advances in reproductive health and mental health sciences have improved health in both domains globally, studies report greater risk factors and low access to health services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Mental health affects reproductive health outcomes among the adolescent population, especially among young girls, and reproductive health also affects mental health.

Though still limited, emerging research on mental health and reproductive health among adolescent boys and young adults indicates that male’s poor mental health experiences, alcohol abuse, and conduct disorders have a negative impact on sexual and reproductive health outcomes, for example, an increased risk of contracting and spreading STIs/HIV, and sexual and interpersonal violence. This underscores the need to also consider reproductive and mental health in boys and young men.

The objective of this Research Topic is to explore the relationship between reproductive health and mental health during adolescence in LMICs; to document the magnitude of the problem in LMICS; to highlight studies analyzing current practice and innovative approaches in this domain, and to lay the foundation for establishing an early screening, diagnosis, and treatment strategy for mental health problems associated with reproductive health problems.

Potential submissions may include, but are not restricted to the following:
• Systematic reviews about adolescent mental health problems in LMICs
• Epidemiological, qualitative, and/or mixed-method research studies about the prevalence and risk factors for mental health problems among adolescents in LMICs

We welcome manuscripts conducted in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, midwifery, nursing, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, social work, epidemiology, and public health that addressed the above-mentioned topics. Submission of systematic reviews, secondary synthesis of data, original research, and clinical trial are welcome.

This topic is one of two exploring reproductive health and mental health – see volume 2 on Women’s Health here.

Keywords: Reproductive Health, Mental Health, LMICS, Adolescents, Women


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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