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U.S. Child Brides Prone to Psychiatric Problems, New Study Reveals

Research shows that child brides are likely to encounter psychiatric problems compared to women who married after reaching 18. In addition to child marriages in Asia and Africa, the researchers focused on underage weddings in the U.S.

Based on government records for 2001 and 2002, about 9 percent of American females took their marriage vows before reaching 18. In addition, there are about 9 million girls who were married at age 16 and below.

It seems that underage marriage is allowed in certain areas in the U.S. In some states, one can get married at age 16. Hawaii and Missouri, on the other hand, allow children as young as fifteen years old to get hitched.

In addition to psychiatric problems, pregnancy complications and sexually transmitted diseases are the attendant health problems associated with underage marriages.

According to Dr. Yann Le Strat of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris, blacks and Native Americans are more likely to get married before reaching 18 compared to whites.

The research revealed that 53 percent of females who were child brides suffered from depression and anxiety compared to 49 percent for women who were married only after they reached the age of majority. Former child brides were also nicotine-dependent and were described as having an antisocial personality.

However, the researchers are not trying to imply that child marriages will lead to mental and psychiatric problems. Nevertheless, Dr. Le Strat says that “support for psychiatric vulnerabilities of women married as children is required.”

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