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The effect of adolescent virginity status on psychological well-being

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

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 1368-1381

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:5:p:1368-1381
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. 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.
  2. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  3. Freeman, Richard Barry, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Scholarly Articles 4631951, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Thomas S. Dee & William N. Evans, 2003. "Teen Drinking and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Two-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimates," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 178-209, January.
  6. Rashad, Inas & Kaestner, Robert, 2004. "Teenage sex, drugs and alcohol use: problems identifying the cause of risky behaviors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 493-503, May.
  7. Christopher Trenholm & Barbara Devaney & Kenneth Fortson & Melissa Clark & Lisa Quay & Justin Wheeler, 2008. "Impacts of abstinence education on teen sexual activity, risk of pregnancy, and risk of sexually transmitted diseases," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 255-276.
  8. Rees, Daniel I. & Argys, Laura M. & Averett, Susan L., 2001. "New evidence on the relationship between substance use and adolescent sexual behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 835-845, September.
  9. Joseph J. Sabia, 2006. "Does early adolescent sex cause depressive symptoms?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 803-825.
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