Adolescent Depression: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Educational Attainment

Health Economics, Forthcoming

34 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2008

See all articles by Jason M. Fletcher

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; Yale University - School of Public Health

Abstract

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

Fletcher, Jason M., Adolescent Depression: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Educational Attainment. Health Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1083526

Jason M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

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