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

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rees, Daniel I. & Sabia, Joseph J. & Argys, Laura M., 2009. "A head above the rest: Height and adolescent psychological well-being," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 217-228, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:2:p:217-228
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1019-1053, October.
    7. 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.
    8. 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 15 Mar 2004.
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Bargain & Jinan Zeidan, 2014. "Stature, Skills and Adult Life Outcomes: Evidence from Indonesia," AMSE Working Papers 1429, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 07 Jul 2014.
    2. Kitae Sohn, 2016. "Height and Happiness in a Developing Country," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, February.
    3. repec:spr:jhappi:v:18:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9785-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Howard Bodenhorn & Carolyn Moehling & Gregory N. Price, 2012. "Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 393-419.
    5. Carrieri, Vincenzo & De Paola, Maria, 2012. "Height and subjective well-being in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 289-298.
    6. Wilson, Nicholas & Janicki, Martha, 2016. "A cut above the rest? Private anthropometrics in marriage markets," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 164-179.
    7. Kevin Denny, 2017. "Are the Effects of Height on Well-Being a Tall Tale?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 1445-1458, October.
    8. D. Mark Anderson & Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin, 2015. "Youth Depression And Future Criminal Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(1), pages 294-317, January.
    9. Vincenzo Carrieri & Maria De Paola, 2011. "The Effects Of Peoples’ Height And Relative Height On Well-Being," Working Papers 201110, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    10. Mora, Toni, 2013. "The association between adolescent height and student school satisfaction: Recent evidence from Catalonia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 197-200.

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