The Enduring Impact of Childhood Experience on Mental Health: Evidence Using Instrumented Co-Twin Data
The question of whether there is a lasting effect of childhood experience on mental health has eluded causal measurement. We draw upon identical twin data and econometric instrumentation to provide an unbiased answer. We find that 55% of a one standard deviation change in mental health due to idiosyncratic experience at age 9 will still be present three years later. Extending the analysis, we find such persistence to vary with age at impact, gender, and mental health sub-categories. This investigation allows us to get a grasp on the degree to which childhood events influence health and socio-economic outcomes by way of their lagged effect on subsequent mental health. A better understanding of the evolution of mental health also helps identifying when mental health issues can be most effectively treated.
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- Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005.
"The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
- Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
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- Sandewall, Örjan & Cesarini, David & Johannesson, Magnus, 2014.
"The co-twin methodology and returns to schooling — testing a critical assumption,"
Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 1-10.
- Sandewall, Örjan & Cesarini, David & Johannesson, Magnus, 2009. "The Co-twin Methodology and Returns to Schooling – Testing a Critical Assumption," Working Paper Series 806, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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