The effect of parental involvement laws on youth suicide Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2013

start page

  • 620

end page

  • 636


  • 1


  • 51

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0095-2583

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1465-7295


  • Using state-level data on suicides from the period 1987 to 2003, we find that the adoption of a law requiring a parent's notification or consent before a minor can obtain an abortion is associated with an 11%-21% reduction in the number of 15- through 17-year-old females who commit suicide. In contrast, the adoption of a parental involvement law is not associated with a reduction in the number of older females who commit suicide or in the number of 15- through 17-year-old males who commit suicide. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that parental involvement laws represent an increase in the expected cost of having unprotected sex, and, as a consequence, serve to protect young females from depression and what have been termed "stressful life events" such as conflict with a parent or an abortion. © 2012 Western Economic Association International.