A Review of a Lesser Known Contribution to Depression
Depression is a common mental illness that can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, up to and including death by suicide. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of adults over 20 in the United States reported feelings of depression within a two-week time period (Brody, Pratt, & Hughes, 2018). Numerous known risk factors may contribute to the diagnosis of depression, including family history of depression, low self esteem, alcohol use, and ACE scores. One potential factor that may be overlooked is the age of initiation of consensual sexual experience. A review of published literature was conducted to analyze if there is a relationship between the age of first consensual sexual experience and a diagnosis of depression in adulthood. The age of initiation is broken up into three categories: early, normative, and late, based on frequently used parameters within the literature. A diagnosis of depression was determined using multiple diagnostic tools, including the DSM-V criteria. The purpose of this Evidence Based Practice Brief is to review the lesser known research that examines a possible correlation between the age of initiation of consensual sex and depression in young adulthood. Specifically, nurses can use this knowledge in public health work, mental health screenings/evaluations, sexual education, and even routine check-ups to provide accurate information to their patients and communities regarding sexual practices and depression.