US child brides have more mental illness

US child brides have more mental illness

Their work is the first to try to gauge the mental toll of child marriage, which has already been tied to several health problems, such as pregnancy complications and an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections.

So far, most research has focused on child marriages in low and middle income nations in Africa and Asia, where it is often rampant. But according to the new report, the US also has its fair share of underage brides.

Based on a government survey from 2001 and 2002, it estimates that as many as nine percent of American women took their vows as kids. About 9.4 million women were married at 16 or younger, and 1.7 million were no older than 15.

All but one US state require couples to be at least 18 years old to be married. With parental consent, however, marriage age is only 16 in most states, and under some circumstances may be as low as 15 in Hawaii and Missouri.

Blacks and Native Americans were more likely to be child brides than whites, Dr Yann Le Strat, of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris, and colleagues report in the journal Pediatrics.

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