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The Effect Of Maternal Depression And Substance Abuse On Child Human Capital Development

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Executive Summary

Recent models of human capital formation represent a synthesis of the human capital approach and a life cycle view of human development that is grounded in neuroscience (Heckman 2007). This model of human development, the stability of the home and parental mental health can have notable impacts on skill development in children that may affect the stock of human capital in adults. The authors study effects of maternal depression and substance abuse on children born to mothers in the initial cohort of the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), a national household survey of high school students aged 14-22 in 1979. They follow 1587 children aged 1-5 in 1987, observing them throughout childhood and into high school.

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