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Fetal origins of mental health: evidence from Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Achyuta Adhvaryu
  • James Fenske
  • Namrata Kala
  • Anant Nyshadham

Abstract

Mental health disorders are a substantial portion of the global disease burden, yet their determinants are understudied, particularly in developing countries. We find that temperature shocks in utero increase depressive symptoms in adulthood in Africa. A ten percent increase in heat exposure increases our depression indices .05 to .07 standard deviations. We find no evidence that the effects of these shocks are smaller for more recent birth cohorts, nor do shocks predict greater treatment of depressive symptoms. Temperature fluctuations, increasingly frequent due to climate change, worsen the mental health disease burden and health care systems in Africa do not mitigate these impacts.

Suggested Citation

  • Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske & Namrata Kala & Anant Nyshadham, 2015. "Fetal origins of mental health: evidence from Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2015-15
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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/csae-wps-2015-15.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Petra Persson & Maya Rossin-Slater, 2018. "Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(4-5), pages 1214-1252, April.
    2. Conti, Gabriella & Hansman, Christopher & Heckman, James J. & Novak, Matthew F.X. & Ruggiero, Angela M. & Suomi, Stephen J., 2012. "Primate Evidence on the Late Health Effects of Early Life Adversity," IZA Discussion Papers 6495, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske & Anant Nyshadham, 2019. "Early Life Circumstance and Adult Mental Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1516-1549.
    4. David Cutler & Winnie Fung & Michael Kremer & Monica Singhal & Tom Vogl, 2010. "Early-Life Malaria Exposure and Adult Outcomes: Evidence from Malaria Eradication in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 72-94, April.
    5. Adrienne M. Lucas, 2010. "Malaria Eradication and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Paraguay and Sri Lanka," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 46-71, April.
    6. Helen Berry & Kathryn Bowen & Tord Kjellstrom, 2010. "Climate change and mental health: a causal pathways framework," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 55(2), pages 123-132, April.
    7. Achyuta Adhvaryu & Namrata Kala & Anant Nyshadham, 2018. "The Light and the Heat: Productivity Co-benefits of Energy-saving Technology," NBER Working Papers 24314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Saurabh Singhal, 2018. "Early life shocks and mental health: The long-term effect of war in Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series 65, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Singhal, Saurabh, 2019. "Early life shocks and mental health: The long-term effect of war in Vietnam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    3. Wilde, Joshua & Apouey, Bénédicte H. & Jung, Toni, 2017. "The effect of ambient temperature shocks during conception and early pregnancy on later life outcomes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 87-107.
    4. Cecchi, Francesco & Duchoslav, Jan, 2018. "The effect of prenatal stress on cooperation: Evidence from violent conflict in Uganda," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 35-56.
    5. Lee, Gi-Eu & Loveridge, Scott, 2017. "Adjusting Time Scales to Assess Temperature’s Impact on Demand: A Case Study from the U.S. Residential Electricity Consumption," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258205, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Achyuta Adhvaryu & Prashant Bharadwaj & James Fenske & Anant Nyshadham & Richard Stanley, 2016. "Dust and Death: Evidence from the West African Harmattan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-03, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Daniel Graeber & Daniel D. Schnitzlein, 2019. "The Effect of Maternal Education on Offspring's Mental Health," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1028, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fetal origins; in-utero; mental health; climate change; Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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