Role of Marital Dissolution in Mental Depression of Younger Adults: Evidence from the United States

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Madhu Mohanty


Objective: The study uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 to test the hypothesis that mental depression of younger adults during a given time is significantly related to whether they are the victims of marital dissolution. Although the literature examining the relationship between mental health and marital dissolution is quite vast, there are only a few studies that examine this relationship among younger adults. By following an appropriate two- stage procedure, this study for the first-time tests the hypothesis that both depression and divorce may influence each other simultaneously.

Method: Using two samples from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 of the United States, the study first estimates depression equation by ordered probit. Recognizing the importance of both social causation and social selection theories, the study further estimates both depression and marital dissolution equations simultaneously.

Results: Both approaches just mentioned indicate a strong correlation between these two variables. Further estimation of the depression equation by an instrumental variable approach indicates that this relationship may result from a causal connection.

Conclusion: The study concludes that depression and divorce among younger adults are highly correlated and affect each other simultaneously during the same time. Evidence of the presence of a strong correlation and the possibility of a causal connection between divorce and depression clearly have important policy implications. Any policy to improve one is likely to have a favorable effect on the other and thus it deserves further attention of researchers and policy makers.

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How to Cite
MOHANTY, Madhu. Role of Marital Dissolution in Mental Depression of Younger Adults: Evidence from the United States. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 3, mar. 2024. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 13 apr. 2024. doi:
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