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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Study Shows Fatal School Shootings Increase Antidepressant Use Among Youths

The rate of antidepressant use among youths under age 20 rose by 21 percent on average in the local communities where fatal school shootings occurred, according to a new study by Northwestern, Stanford and Yale university researchers.

More than 240,000 students have been exposed to school shootings in America since the mass shooting in Columbine in April 1999, according to the study. Moreover, the number of school shootings per year has been trending up since 2015.

“Given the dramatic frequency of school shootings and the large number of exposed children, it is surprising how little is known about the impacts of these tragedies on the surviving youth,” said co-author Dr. Hannes Schwandt, an assistant professor in the School of Education and Social Policy and an economist with the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) at Northwestern. “We hope our findings alert policymakers to consider the overall negative effects of school shootings, and inspire further research to gauge other societal consequences.”

The study is detailed in a working paper published December 14th by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It was co-authored by Dr. Schwandt; Dr. Molly Schnell, an assistant professor at Northwestern and an economist with IPR; Dr. Maya Rossin-Slater, an assistant professor of health policy at Stanford; Mr. Sam Trejo, a Stanford doctoral candidate in economics and education; and Ms. Lindsey Uniat, a PhD student at Yale.

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