DP14238 Local Exposure to School Shootings and Youth Antidepressant Use

Author(s): Maya Rossin-Slater, Molly Schnell, Hannes Schwandt, Sam Trejo, Lindsey Uniat
Publication Date: December 2019
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Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14238

While over 240,000 American students experienced a school shooting in the last two decades, little is known about the impacts of these events on the mental health of surviving youth. Using large-scale prescription data from 2006 to 2015, we examine the effects of 44 school shootings on youth antidepressant use in a difference-in-difference framework. We find that local exposure to fatal school shootings increases youth antidepressant use by 21.4 percent in the following two years. These effects are smaller in areas with a higher density of mental health providers who focus on behavioral, rather than pharmacological, interventions.