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Faculty of Economics

Fruehwirth, J., Iyer, S. and Zhang, A.

Religion and Depression in Adolescence

Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract: Depression is the leading cause of illness and disability in adolescence. Many studies show a correlation between religiosity and mental health, yet the question remains whether the relationship is causal. We exploit within-school variation in adolescents’ peers to deal with selection into religiosity. We find robust effects of religiosity on depression that are stronger for the most depressed. These effects are not driven by the school social context; depression spreads among close friends rather than through broader peer groups that affect religiosity. Exploration of mechanisms suggests that religiosity buffers against stressors in ways that school activities and friendships do not.

Full Text: /people-files/faculty/si105/FINAL_Fruehwirth_Iyer_Zhang_Dec2017.pdf


Papers and Publications



Recent Publications


Gagnon, J. and Goyal, S. Networks, markets and inequality American Economic Review [2017]

Elliott, M. and Golub, B. A network approach to public goods accepted, Journal of Political Economy [2018]

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Cavalcanti, T. V. D. On the determinants of slum formation Economic Journal [2018]