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Mental Health and Academic Success in College

Author

Listed:
  • Eisenberg Daniel

    () (University of Michigan)

  • Golberstein Ezra

    () (Harvard Medical School)

  • Hunt Justin B

    () (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Eisenberg Daniel & Golberstein Ezra & Hunt Justin B, 2009. "Mental Health and Academic Success in College," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-37, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:40
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Gladwell & Gurleen Popli & Aki Tsuchiya, 2015. "A Dynamic Analysis of Skill Formation and NEET status," Working Papers 2015016, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    2. Baert, Stijn & Omey, Eddy & Verhaest, Dieter & Vermeir, Aurélie, 2015. "Mister Sandman, bring me good marks! On the relationship between sleep quality and academic achievement," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 91-98.
    3. Ertan Yörük, Ceren & Yörük, Barış K., 2012. "The impact of drinking on psychological well-being: Evidence from minimum drinking age laws in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(10), pages 1844-1854.
    4. Sarah Baird & Jacobus de Hoop & Berk Özler, 2013. "Income Shocks and Adolescent Mental Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(2), pages 370-403.
    5. Cornaglia, Francesca & Crivellaro, Elena & McNally, Sandra, 2015. "Mental health and education decisions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 1-12.

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