A head above the rest: Height and adolescent psychological well-being Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2009

start page

  • 217

end page

  • 228


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  • Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we examine the effect of adolescent height on mental health as measured by Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scores and Rosenberg Self-Esteem (RSE) scores. We find evidence that height is associated with fewer symptoms of depression among females 17-19 years of age, and among males 12-19 years of age. The negative relationship between height and depression among males persists after controlling for body mass index (BMI), differences in pubertal timing, and individual fixed effects, but does not explain the effect of height on educational attainment. We conclude that there is a small psychological benefit for males to being taller as an adolescent. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • depression education height self-esteem adolescent adolescent health adult article body height body mass child depression disease association female human male mental health psychological well being puberty risk assessment risk factor school child self esteem adolescent adolescent psychology body height body mass index child depression educational status female humans longitudinal studies male mental health self concept united states young adult