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Sadness, Suicidality and Grades

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  • Jeffrey S. DeSimone

Abstract

This study examines the past year relationship between GPA and experiencing a combination of two primary depression symptoms, feeling sad and losing interest in usual activities for at least two consecutive weeks, among high school students during 2001–2009. The GPA loss associated with sadness, as defined above, falls from slightly less than a plus/minus mark to around 0.1 point when commonly co-occurring behaviors are held constant. Nonetheless, this effect is significantly larger than those of having considered or planned suicide and equivalent to having attempted suicide, which seemingly signify more severe depression. Moreover, sadness lowers the probability of earning A grades, and raises that of receiving grades of C or below, by over 15%. Coefficient sizes are similar when comparison groups are restricted to students engaging in correlated behaviors and in matching and instrumental variable models, suggesting that sadness causally reduces academic performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16239.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16239

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  1. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2004. "Child Mental Health and Human Capital Accumulation: The Case of ADHD," NBER Working Papers 10435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  3. Arnaud Chevalier & L Feinstein, 2006. "Sheepskin or Prozac: The Causal Effect of Education on Mental Health," CEE Discussion Papers 0071, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
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  7. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2007. "Mental Health in Childhood and Human Capital," NBER Chapters, in: The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective, pages 115-148 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jason M. Fletcher & Steven F. Lehrer, 2009. "Using Genetic Lotteries within Families to Examine the Causal Impact of Poor Health on Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 15148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ding, Weili & Lehrer, Steven F. & Rosenquist, J.Niels & Audrain-McGovern, Janet, 2009. "The impact of poor health on academic performance: New evidence using genetic markers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 578-597, May.
  10. Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Adolescent depression: diagnosis, treatment, and educational attainment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1215-1235.
  11. Perri, Timothy J., 1984. "Health status and schooling decisions of young men," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 207-213, June.
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