Mental Health in Childhood and Human Capital

Janet Currie and Mark Stabile

in The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226309453
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309477 | DOI:
Mental Health in Childhood and Human Capital

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The prevalence and importance of child mental health problems have been increasingly recognized in recent years. Most studies assume that childhood mental health problems will have negative effects and work to document the prevalence of these conditions, examine the efficacy of specific interventions, or examine the factors that might be related to the development of mental health conditions. Children with mental health problems suffer large negative consequences in terms of their achievement test scores and schooling attainment. Hyperactivity appears to have the broadest and most consistently negative effects, followed by conduct disorders. Studies indicate that mental health conditions in early childhood are predictive of future outcomes, both because mental health conditions are likely to persist, and because early mental health problems have independent and persistent negative effects on children's future test scores. Higher income protects against the negative effects of mental health conditions, though poor children are somewhat more likely to be affected by these problems than richer ones.

Keywords: mental health; childhood; hyperactivity; higher income; human capital

Chapter.  13556 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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