A new study by Jason Fletcher of the Yale School of Public Health, reaches the remarkable conclusion that adults who suffer from adolescent depression ultimately make about 20 percent less money than their peers and are somewhat less likely to be employed.
Fletcher used detailed data from a 13-year longitudinal study, which started tracking a group of students in grades seven through twelve from across the United States in 1994. By looking at his subjects over time and incorporating information about their school environments, physical health, drug use, home lives, and other factors that could impact their early career success, he tries to isolate the impact of youth depression more precisely than in previous efforts.
Fletcher argues that the "results are suggestive that the links between adolescent depression and labor market outcomes are quite robust and important in magnitude, suggesting that there may be substantial labor market returns to further investments in treatment and opportunities during adolescence."
In other words: our mental health may impact our financial health for years on end. One more reason for parents to watch their kids -- especially their feelings.
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