Effects of Mental Health on Couple Relationship Status

50 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2013 Last revised: 14 May 2021

See all articles by Nancy E. Reichman

Nancy E. Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Hope Corman

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kelly Noonan

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2013

Abstract

We exploit the occurrence of postpartum depression (PPD), which has a random component according to the medical community, to estimate causal effects of a salient form of mental illness on couples' relationship status. We estimate single-equation models as well as bivariate probit models that address the endogeneity of PPD. We find that this relatively prevalent mental illness reduces the probability the couples are married (by 22-24%) as well the probability that they are living together (married or cohabiting) (by 24-26%) three years after the birth of the child. Models stratified by relationship status at the time of the birth indicate that PPD makes it more likely that unions dissolve (particularly among baseline cohabitors) and less likely that unions are formed (particularly among baseline non-cohabitors). The findings contribute to the literature on the effects of mental illness on relationships and to the broader literature on socioeconomic status and health.

Suggested Citation

Reichman, Nancy E. and Corman, Hope and Noonan, Kelly, Effects of Mental Health on Couple Relationship Status (June 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19164, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2287024

Nancy E. Reichman (Contact Author)

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ( email )

97 Paterson Street
Room 435
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
United States

Hope Corman

Rider University ( email )

2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
United States
609-895-5559 (Phone)
609-896-5304 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Kelly Noonan

Rider University ( email )

2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville Township, NJ 08648
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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