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The effect of adolescent virginity status on psychological well-being

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  • Sabia, Joseph J.
  • Rees, Daniel I.

Abstract

Although previous research has found that sexually active teens are more likely to suffer from depression, it is not clear whether this association is causal or spurious in nature. This study uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine whether virginity status affects self-esteem and depression. For males, fixed effects and instrumental variables (IV) estimates provide little evidence that sex is causally related to psychological well-being. In contrast, IV estimates indicate that sexually active female adolescents are at increased risk of exhibiting the symptoms of depression relative to their counterparts who are not sexually active. Comparing the psychological well-being of females who used contraception at last intercourse with that of virgins suggests that these effects may be ameliorated, but not eliminated, by contraceptive use.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabia, Joseph J. & Rees, Daniel I., 2008. "The effect of adolescent virginity status on psychological well-being," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1368-1381, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:5:p:1368-1381
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.70.8.790_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Sen, Bisakha, 2002. "Does alcohol-use increase the risk of sexual intercourse among adolescents? Evidence from the NLSY97," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1085-1093, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Susan Averett & Sarah Estelle, 2014. "Will daughters walk mom’s talk? The effects of maternal communication about sex on the sexual behavior of female adolescents," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 613-639, December.
    2. Tauchmann, Harald & Reichert, Arndt Rüdiger & Wübker, Ansgar, 2015. "Weight Loss and Sexual Activity in adult Obese Individuals: Establishing a Causal Link," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113048, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Mir Ali & Olugbenga Ajilore, 2011. "Can Marriage Reduce Risky Health Behavior for African-Americans?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 191-203, June.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:31-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. D. Mark Anderson, 2013. "The Impact Of Hiv Education On Behavior Among Youths: A Propensity Score Matching Approach," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(3), pages 503-527, July.
    7. Maclean, Johanna Catherine, 2013. "The health effects of leaving school in a bad economy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 951-964.
    8. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2013. "The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-65.
    9. Joseph Sabia & Daniel Rees, 2012. "Does the number of sex partners affect educational attainment? Evidence from female respondents to the Add Health," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 89-118, January.
    10. Averett, Susan L. & Estelle, Sarah M., 2012. "Is it Necessary to Walk the Talk? The Effects of Maternal Experiences and Communication on the Sexual Behavior of Female Adolescents," IZA Discussion Papers 6586, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Olugbenga Ajilore, 2015. "Identifying peer effects using spatial analysis: the role of peers on risky sexual behavior," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 635-652, September.
    12. Drydakis, Nick, 2013. "The Effect of Sexual Activity on Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 7529, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Ali, Mir M. & Rizzo, John A. & Amialchuk, Aliaksandr & Heiland, Frank, 2014. "Racial differences in the influence of female adolescents’ body size on dating and sex," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 140-152.

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