Adolescent Depression: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Educational Attainment
Health Economics, Forthcoming
34 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2008
In this paper, I use nationally representative longitudinal data to examine adolescent depression and educational attainment. First, I examine the individual, family, and community-level determinants of adolescent depression, diagnosis, and treatment. I find that male and minority adolescents who score high on depression scales are less likely to be diagnosed as depressed or receive treatment than female and non-Hispanic white adolescents. Additionally, I find several community-level variables to be important determinants of depression, diagnosis, and treatment. Second, I examine the importance of adolescent depression for educational attainment. Although it is uncontroversial to expect a negative relationship, most previous research uses cross-sectional data, making it difficult to adequately determine the magnitude of the effect. I find that depressive symptoms are related to educational attainment along multiple margins: dropping out of high school, college enrollment, and college type. These relationships are only found for adolescent females, and there are several interesting results across income groups. Overall, these findings suggest that further attempts to diagnose and treat adolescents with depressive symptoms are needed and that additional treatment options may be required to combat the important relationship between adolescent depression and human capital accumulation for females.
Keywords: Depression, Education, Mental Health
JEL Classification: I12, I21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation