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Mental Health and Academic Success in College

Listed author(s):
  • Eisenberg Daniel

    ()

    (University of Michigan)

  • Golberstein Ezra

    ()

    (Harvard Medical School)

  • Hunt Justin B

    ()

    (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences)

Registered author(s):

    Mental health problems represent a potentially important but relatively unexplored factor in explaining human capital accumulation during college. We conduct the first study, to our knowledge, of how mental health predicts academic success during college in a random longitudinal sample of students. We find that depression is a significant predictor of lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out, particularly among students who also have a positive screen for an anxiety disorder. In within-person estimates using our longitudinal sample, we find again that co-occurring depression and anxiety are associated with lower GPA, and we find that symptoms of eating disorders are also associated with lower GPA. This descriptive study suggests potentially large economic returns from programs to prevent and treat mental health problems among college students, and highlights the policy relevance of evaluating the impact of such programs on academic outcomes using randomized trials.

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    File URL: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap.2009.9.1/bejeap.2009.9.1.2191/bejeap.2009.9.1.2191.xml?format=INT
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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (September)
    Pages: 1-37

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:40
    Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.degruyter.com

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    1. Jaeger, David A & Page, Marianne E, 1996. "Degrees Matter: New Evidence on Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 733-740, November.
    2. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2012. "Learning about Academic Ability and the College Dropout Decision," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 707-748.
    3. Fletcher, Jason & Wolfe, Barbara, 2008. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD revisited," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 794-800, May.
    4. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
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    7. Susan L. Ettner & Richard G. Frank & Ronald C. Kessler, 1997. "The Impact of Psychiatric Disorders on Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Catherine Ross & John Mirowsky, 1999. "Refining the association between education and health: The effects of quantity, credential, and selectivity," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(4), pages 445-460, November.
    9. Susan M. Dynarski, 2003. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 279-288, March.
    10. Susan L. Ettner & Richard G. Frank & Ronald C. Kessler, 1997. "The Impact of Psychiatric Disorders on Labor Market Outcomes," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(1), pages 64-81, October.
    11. Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Adolescent depression: diagnosis, treatment, and educational attainment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1215-1235.
    12. Currie, Janet & Stabile, Mark, 2006. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1094-1118, November.
    13. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    14. Marcotte, Dave E. & Wilcox-Gök, Virginia, 2001. "Estimating the employment and earnings costs of mental illness: recent developments in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 21-27, July.
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