Peer Effects in Adolescent Mental Health

Social network
Peer effects
Instrumental variable
Add Health dataset

Hussain Hadah, “Peer Effects in Adolescent Mental Health,” Working Paper


Tulane University

Other details

Presented at the 2023 Stata Texas Empirical Microeconomics Conference and won the best graduate poster.


This paper examines how peer mental health influences adolescents’ mental well-being, academic performance, physical health, and behavior. Mental illness is prevalent among children and adolescents, and can have significant consequences on various outcomes. To estimate peer effects, I use the friends-of-friends method. I find that a one standard deviation increase in the mental health index of friends is associated with a 0.73 standard deviation increase in one’s own mental health. Additionally, the paper reveals significant negative effects of peer mental health on academic achievement, physical health, and risky behavior. Overall, this research highlights the importance of understanding peer effects in mental health and its implications for adolescent well-being.

Important Figures

Figure 1: Peer effects of friends’ mental health on own mental health

Figure 2: Peer effects of friends’ mental health on own Grade Point Average

Figure 3: Peer effects of friends’ mental health on probability of skipping school for no reason