The Enduring Impact of Childhood Experience on Mental Health: Evidence Using Instrumented Co-Twin Data
AbstractThe question of whether there is a lasting effect of childhood experience on mental health has eluded causal measurement. We draw upon identical twin data and econometric instrumentation to provide an unbiased answer. We find that 55% of a one standard deviation change in mental health due to idiosyncratic experience at age 9 will still be present three years later. Extending the analysis, we find such persistence to vary with age at impact, gender, and mental health sub-categories. This investigation allows us to get a grasp on the degree to which childhood events influence health and socio-economic outcomes by way of their lagged effect on subsequent mental health. A better understanding of the evolution of mental health also helps identifying when mental health issues can be most effectively treated.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1175.
Date of creation: Nov 2012
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mental health; childhood experience; twin study; instrumental variable analysis;
Other versions of this item:
- Rachel Berner Shalem & Francesca Cornaglia & Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, 2012. "The enduring impact of childhood experience on mental health: evidence using instrumented co-twin data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51522, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-11-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2012-11-17 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-HEA-2012-11-17 (Health Economics)
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