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Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation

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Listed:
  • Petra Persson
  • Maya Rossin-Slater

Abstract

This paper studies how in utero exposure to maternal stress from family ruptures affects later mental health. We find that prenatal exposure to the death of a maternal relative increases take-up of ADHD medications during childhood and anti-anxiety and depression medications in adulthood. Further, family ruptures during pregnancy depress birth outcomes and raise the risk of perinatal complications necessitating hospitalization. Our results suggest large welfare gains from preventing fetal stress from family ruptures and possibly from economically induced stressors such as unemployment. They further suggest that greater stress exposure among the poor may partially explain the intergenerational persistence of poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Petra Persson & Maya Rossin-Slater, 2018. "Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(4-5), pages 1214-1252, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:4-5:p:1214-52
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20141406
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Adam Isen & Maya Rossin-Slater & W. Reed Walker, 2017. "Every Breath You Take—Every Dollar You’ll Make: The Long-Term Consequences of the Clean Air Act of 1970," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(3), pages 848-902.
    2. Nicholas J. Sanders, 2012. "What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker: Prenatal Pollution Exposure and Educational Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 826-850.
    3. Erixson, Oscar & Ohlsson, Henry, 2014. "Estate division: Equal sharing as choice, social norm, and legal requirement," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2014:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Scholte, Robert S. & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten, 2015. "Long-run effects of gestation during the Dutch Hunger Winter famine on labor market and hospitalization outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 17-30.
    5. Hilary Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Douglas Almond, 2016. "Long-Run Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(4), pages 903-934, April.
    6. Diane Lauderdale, 2006. "Birth outcomes for Arabic-named women in California before and after September 11," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(1), pages 185-201, February.
    7. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2009. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1729-1772.
    8. Black, Sandra & Bütikofer, Aline & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2013. "This Is Only a Test? Long-Run Impacts of Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout," CEPR Discussion Papers 9443, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Kunz-Ebrecht, Sabine R. & Kirschbaum, Clemens & Steptoe, Andrew, 2004. "Work stress, socioeconomic status and neuroendocrine activation over the working day," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(8), pages 1523-1530, April.
    10. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1994:84:9:1414-1420_1 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Mansour, Hani & Rees, Daniel I., 2012. "Armed conflict and birth weight: Evidence from the al-Aqsa Intifada," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 190-199.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Sam Watson’s journal round-up for 16th April 2018
      by Sam Watson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2018-04-16 13:30:50

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    1. repec:eee:jhecon:v:58:y:2018:i:c:p:253-268 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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