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Local Exposure to School Shootings and Youth Antidepressant Use (WP-19-30)

Maya Rossin-Slater, Molly Schnell, Hannes Schwandt, Sam Trejo, and Lindsey Uniat

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, the researchers examine the effects of 44 school shootings on youth antidepressant use in a difference-in-difference framework. They 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.

Maya Rossin-Slater, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Stanford University

Molly Schnell, Assistant Professor of Economics and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

Hannes Schwandt, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and IPR Fellow, Northwestern      University

Sam Trejo, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University

Lindsey Uniat, Department of Economics, Yale University

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