Candidate: Alketa Hysenbegasi
Doctor of Philosophy
Matthew Higgins , Chair
This dissertation estimates the total cost of depression and the benefits of its treatment to individual students at a large Midwest Public University. It is known that chronic depression is a common disorder, creating health problems in 10% of the population and for this reason, its economic costs (direct and indirect costs) to the society have been widely analyzed. However, so far, there is no completed study that investigates the economic impact of depression on the worker performance that considers both subjective and objective measures of productivity. This is because objective measures of productivity are difficult to collect and they are available only for some categories of occupations. Most studies above have relied on self-reported data of productivity that may bias the estimated cost of depression and have usually investigated only one cost component of depression.
In order to fill this gap in literature, I evaluate college students who are involved in academic and non-academic activities. There are two reasons for choosing this population group. First, depression is usually called the "youth disease" because of its highest prevalence among young people aged 18-34 years old and second, students belong to a unique set of individuals whose quantity and quality of work is regularly evaluated through their course grade. In this dissertation, I use retrospective data that are collected from the Health Center and the Registrar Office at Western Michigan University. Additional data has been obtained from the delivery of a survey 314 students treated with depression and their controls (892). The response rate was 37%, which left me with a total of 450 students in my final sample.
First, I measure the overall impact of depression disorders and the effectiveness of its treatments of the student performance at school. Tests for selectivity bias and error component are performed. Random and fixed effects estimators are used to investigate the effect of the student health status and other factors on their school performance, which is measured by the student GPA. An important issue discussed here is the effectiveness of depression treatment. I expect that depression treatments such as counseling and/or drug therapies lead to changes in the student health status which will be followed by positive changes in the student performance at school. Further, I develop and validate different measurements of the student performance. The correlation between the student self-reported performance measure and the GPA is evaluated.
Second, the student's activities also extend outside the academic environment. Depression disorders might affect the student's ability to work and to perform household duties. I investigate the possible impact of depression on student's labor market outcomes. Similar econometric techniques (random effects and fixed effects estimators) are applied to the equations of the student's employment, work hours, and work performance. A parallel analysis is conducted to analyze the impairment of depression on household production.
Finally I compute the overall cost of depression and net benefits of its treatment to the student population. To evaluate this cost, I consider the total outpatient, inpatient and pharmaceutical expenditures for depression. In addition, I calculate the total indirect cost of depression due to less performance at school and missed hours of work, and reduction in scheduled work hours. My calculation reveals the net benefits of depression treatments provided at the University's facilities. This project may support further research that can demonstrate the value of counseling and health services on school outcomes versus alternative uses of University funds.
For Future Students | For Current Students | For Faculty and Staff | About The Graduate College
Events | Policies/Guidelines | Dissertation Defenses | ETD | Forms
Updated October 27, 2002
Copyright © 2002-2004, Western Michigan University
The Graduate College, 260 W. Walwood Hall, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5456 Phone: 269 387-8212