School Gun Violence, Mental Health, and Labor Outcomes Among Fragile Families and Disadvantaged Communities in the United States

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Nabors, Yolunda A.
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Middle Tennessee State University
Hundreds of thousands of US children have experienced gun violence at their schools in the last two decades. While prior research has analyzed the impacts of school shootings on children's outcomes, much less is known about how parents fare in the aftermath of gun violence at schools or how children's expectations regarding their educational trajectories are affected. I study the causal effects of school shootings on parents and children using data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study, leveraging variation in the timing of school shootings in parents' cities of residence relative to their randomly assigned survey interview dates. I find that school shootings adversely affect the mental health of parents of school-aged children. Specifically, I find that the mental health index of mothers is 0.100 standard deviations lower following exposure to a school shooting. Heterogeneity analyses also reveal that the mental health impacts on parents are concentrated among families with married parents. Finally, I find that children's exposure to a school shooting negatively impacts their expectations regarding educational attainment. These results suggest that the costs of school shootings extend far beyond the direct impacts on victims who are killed or physically injured. The challenges of adolescents with learning disabilities do not diminish as individuals mature in age, rather learning disabilities’ effects extend into adulthood. When compared to the physically disabled and nondisabled, individuals with learning disabilities have the lowest educational attainment and subsequently fewer employment opportunities. Because the educational challenges faced by the learning disabled behave as a conduit to inferior employment outcomes, they contend with modest wages in conjunction with their disability. Using the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, I identify adolescents in the eighth grade who received services for disability types, learning and physical. Gender analysis reveals wage gaps between groups, wherein each estimation the learning disabled is the disadvantaged group. Wage regressions indicate that men with learning disabilities incur larger negative effects on log hourly wages due to learning disabilities than women. This research promotes the need for development of coping strategies that aid the learning disabled in higher educational attainment. Millions of parents in the United States suffer with depression. However, parental depression is not isolated to the individual, but spills over into the family unit. Adolescents may be especially vulnerable to parental depression because adolescence is a key transitional period into adulthood. It is during this time adolescents began to explore boundaries and establish behavior. Parental depression stands to adversely affect the behavior of adolescents through negative parenting and lack of emotional support. This paper examines the associative differences in adolescent risky behavior due to the timing and onset of parental depression. My results show that history of maternal depression and recency of depressive episode is positively correlated with adolescent risky behavior. Specifically, I find that recency of maternal depression, when the child is 15 years of age has greater correlation than the mother's overall history of depression to adolescent risky behavior. Also, I find that recency of paternal depression is correlated with a 14.5 percentage point decrease in GPA of adolescents; a stronger correlation to GPA than maternal depression. Considering how parental depression impedes healthy development in adolescence is imperative to understanding the behavior in adulthood and provides a basis for potential policy interventions in regard to adolescent development.
Disability, Education, Mental Health, School Shooting, Wage gap, Labor economics, Economics