Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD

Janet Currie, Mark Stabile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

336 Scopus citations


One in five U.S. youngsters has a mental disorder, but we know little about the effects of these disorders on child outcomes. We examine U.S. and Canadian children with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the most common child mental health problem. Our innovations include the use of nationally representative samples of children, the use of questions administered to all children rather than focusing only on diagnosed cases, and the use of sibling fixed effects to control for omitted variables. We find large negative effects on test scores and schooling attainment suggesting that mental health conditions are a more important determinant of average outcomes than physical health conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1094-1118
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy


  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Children
  • Education
  • Human capital
  • Mental health


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