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

Reprint No. 2018:23

Author(s): Petra Persson and Maya Rossin-SlaterYear: 2018 Title: American Economic Review Volume (No.): 108 (4-5) Pages: 1214–1252
Online article (restrictions may apply)

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.

Persson, Petra and Maya Rossin-Slater (2018), "Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation". American Economic Review 108(4-5), 1214–1252.

Interdisciplinary European Studies

Trust in the European Union in Challenging Times


This is the first book in the Interdisciplinary European Studies collection. This volume provides an interdisciplinary perspective on trust in the EU from the vantage point of political science, law and economics. Lars Oxelheim, Lund University and affiliated to IFN, is one of the authors.


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