Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #834

Does Stress Shorten Your Life? Evidence from Parental Bereavement

by Bernhard Schmidpeter

RWI, 12/2019, 31 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-967-4 DOI: 10.4419/86788967

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Abstract

This paper studies how stress affects the mortality risk. Using a flexible approach and allowing for timevarying treatment effects, I find no impact of stress on the short-run mortality risk but a substantially
increase in the long-run. The effects are especially pronounced for men. I provide evidence that this is likely caused by changes towards adverse health behaviours as a reaction to stress. Investigating the possible protective effects of mental health support, I find that it can substantially lower the mortality risk for women. The results for men point towards lower effectiveness likely due to stigma effects associated with mental health care. Finally, I show that my results are robust to specific departure of my identifying assumptions.

JEL-Classification: I12, I11, C31, C41

Keywords: Stress; mortality; mental health; bereavement; propensity score weighting; adjusted Kaplan- Meier Estimator; direct effects; indirect effects

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