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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/B73DX-4W38RJM-2/2/34a2dc108f71e5f0a353a0bb25632987
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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. Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2010. "Why Beauty Matters," Staff General Research Papers 32112, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2006. "Stature and Status: Height, Ability, and Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David M. Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Karen Norberg, 2000. "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide," NBER Working Papers 7713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2003. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-036, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. 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.
  7. Freeman, Richard Barry, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Scholarly Articles 4631951, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  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. 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.
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