The Effect of High-Stakes Testing on Suicidal Ideation of Teenagers with Reference-Dependent Preferences
34 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2013 Last revised: 24 Sep 2015
Date Written: June 29, 2013
This paper offers a novel explanation for why even high-performing individuals may have a high suicidal tendency when preferences are reference-dependent. Using survey data of South Korean secondary school students, this paper demonstrates that the relationship between suicidal ideation and test performance is consistent with the reference-dependent explanation. When a student’s rank in the high-stakes College Scholastic Ability Test falls below her expectation, she exhibits a higher likelihood of having suicidal ideation. The findings highlight the potentially adverse consequences of disappointment in high-stakes testing and suggest that the risk of suicide may be significant among high achievers too.
Keywords: Academic achievement, anchoring, reference-dependent preferences, suicidal ideation, mental health
JEL Classification: I12, I21, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation