Peers, Gender, and Long-Term Depression

39 Pages Posted: 27 May 2020 Last revised: 3 Aug 2020

See all articles by Corrado Giulietti

Corrado Giulietti

University of Southampton

Michael Vlassopoulos

University of Southampton

Yves Zenou

Monash University - Department of Economics; Stockholm University; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: April 29, 2020

Abstract

We provide first evidence that peer depression in adolescence affects own depression in adulthood. We use data from Add Health and an identification strategy that relies on within-school and across-cohort idiosyncratic variation in the share of own-gender peers who are depressed. We find a significant peer effect for females but not for males. An increase of one standard deviation of the share of own-gender peers (schoolmates) who are depressed increases the probability of depression in adulthood by 2.6 percentage points for females (or 11.5% of mean depression). We also find that the peer effect is already present in the short term when girls are still in school and provide evidence for why it persists over time. Further analysis reveals that individuals from families with a lower socioeconomic background are more susceptible to peer influence, thereby suggesting that family can function as a buffer. Our findings underscore the importance of peer relationships in adolescence with regard to the development of long-lasting depression in women.

Keywords: Peer effects, depression, contagion, gender, family background, adolescence, policy

JEL Classification: I12, Z13.

Suggested Citation

Giulietti, Corrado and Vlassopoulos, Michael and Zenou, Yves, Peers, Gender, and Long-Term Depression (April 29, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3588176 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3588176

Corrado Giulietti

University of Southampton ( email )

Highfield
Southampton, SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Michael Vlassopoulos

University of Southampton ( email )

University Rd.
Southampton SO17 1BJ, Hampshire SO17 1LP
United Kingdom

Yves Zenou (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Australia

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI) ( email )

P.O. Box 5501
S-114 85 Stockholm
Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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