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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - SALDRU Working Paper Number 200
Title The intergenerational transmission of depression in South African adolescents
Issue 200
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
URL http://opensaldru.uct.ac.za/bitstream/handle/11090/859/2017_200_Saldruwp.pdf?sequence=1
Nationally representative data to measure mental health is rare in South Africa. Estimates of the size of the intergenerational transmission of depression in Africa, and in South Africa, are not numerous, in particular using recent nationally representative data, or in the adolescent sample. South Africa has high rates of depression compared to other countries, in particular among adolescents. Very little mental health treatment is available to adolescents, and the results of poor mental health during adolescence are many - including earlier child bearing, poor education, higher levels of HIV infection and low rates of future employment, among others. Findings: We find that the size of the intergenerational transmission co-efficient is large. On average, 17% of South African teenagers suffer from depression. This figure increases to approximately 50% for teens whose parents suffer from depression. In addition, the direction of causality appears to run strongly from parent to child, and the mental health of parents in the current period is the most important determinant of teen mental health, as opposed to the mental health of parents in previous time periods.

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