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Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation

Petra Persson and Maya Rossin-Slater

No 22229, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper studies how in utero exposure to maternal stress from family ruptures affects later mental health. We find that prenatal exposure to the death of a maternal relative increases take-up of ADHD medications during childhood and anti-anxiety and depression medications in adulthood. Further, family ruptures during pregnancy depress birth outcomes and raise the risk of perinatal complications necessitating hospitalization. Our results suggest large welfare gains from preventing fetal stress from family ruptures and possibly from economically induced stressors such as unemployment. They further suggest that greater stress exposure among the poor may partially explain the intergenerational persistence of poverty.

JEL-codes: I10 I31 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-lab
Date: 2016-05
Note: CH HE LS
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Published as Petra Persson & Maya Rossin-Slater, 2018. "Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation," American Economic Review, vol 108(4-5), pages 1214-1252.

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