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A head above the rest: Height and adolescent psychological well-being

  • Rees, Daniel I.
  • Sabia, Joseph J.
  • Argys, Laura M.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we examine the effect of adolescent height on mental health as measured by Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scores and Rosenberg Self-Esteem (RSE) scores. We find evidence that height is associated with fewer symptoms of depression among females 17-19 years of age, and among males 12-19 years of age. The negative relationship between height and depression among males persists after controlling for body mass index (BMI), differences in pubertal timing, and individual fixed effects, but does not explain the effect of height on educational attainment. We conclude that there is a small psychological benefit for males to being taller as an adolescent.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570-677X(09)00033-1
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 217-228

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:2:p:217-228
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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  1. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2001. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height, Third Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-013, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 05 Jan 2004.
  2. Richard B. Freeman, 1983. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," NBER Working Papers 1207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
  4. Osika, Walter & Montgomery, Scott M., 2008. "Economic disadvantage modifies the association of height with low mood in the US, 2004: The disappointment paradox," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 95-107, March.
  5. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," NBER Working Papers 10522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Karen E. Norberg, 2001. "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1917, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Adolescent depression: diagnosis, treatment, and educational attainment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1215-1235.
  9. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2008. "Stature and Status: Height, Ability, and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 499-532, 06.
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