Sunday, January 03, 2010

Height and depression: continued

Further to my post ("Some unpleasant anthropometric arithmetic") below, I show simple Tobits of the malaise score against height but split by sex. The effect is much bigger for women: being short and female is particularly bad.
I have replicated this with the SHARE data and the results are qualitatively similar but much smaller in magnitude. So if the effect is "psychological" (i.e. due to stigma say & not just a marker for some other factor) is it that women are more emotionally sensitive to being of low stature?

Malaise @ 23, Tobit estimator

























Absolute t statistics in parentheses

* p <>** p <>*** p <>


Mark McG said...

One way to potentially get at these different effects that has been used is to look at the timing of the adolescent growth spurt, for example this paper by Case and Paxson in the JPE

Kevin Denny said...

Good idea Mark

Liam Delaney said...

For me, the link between height and wellbeing is very useful if it can be used as a proxy for how early conditions influence well-being. Mark's suggestion on the growth spurt is interesting as it potentially allows you to separate early conditions from stigma.

Another quick issue Kevin is one that comes up a lot - namely that one would expect that being far away from the mean on either side would be bad for one in terms of stigma. Sure, it may be difficult to be very small but also being very tall is not much fun either.

Kevin Denny said...

There might be a penalty at the very top but I would expect it to be lower at the margin: having too much of a good thing being not as bad as too little. I suppose one has to distinguish between normal small & large stature and the more pathological cases, giantism & dwarfism [if those are appropriate terms].
For the mental ill-health stuff you find the curve is pretty linear downwards but flattens out a bit at the bottom around i.e. when people get to about 6' maybe. It might turn up a bit at the end - which is what you are getting at - but there are so few data points its very hard to tell.
I remember a colleague mentioning that this pattern seemed to turn up in psychological autopsies.
I also think there are advantages to height in the marriage market but you might expect a sex -difference where it doesn't pay for a woman to be too tall. Guys don't like it.

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