The Association between Education and Health among Working-Age Adults: An Examination of Quantity versus Credentials Effects

Anna Zajacova, University of Michigan
Robert A. Hummer, University of Texas at Austin

We analyze two dimensions of educational attainment in terms of their association with self-rated health among working-age adults: quantity (years of schooling) and degree credentials. A better understanding of these two dimensions may be crucial for a deeper understanding of educational effects on health. Multivariate logistic models of dichotomized self-rated health are employed on data from the National Health Interview Survey 1997-2006 comprising 303,137 adults aged 30-65. The results show a clear gradient in health across the entire education range. We find a significant effect of a college degree and an even stronger effect of a high school diploma on reporting poor/fair health, net of years of schooling. Both quantity and credentials have independent effects on general health in different population groups. We discuss the importance of disentangling the two dimensions of schooling and speculate on the causal as well as selection pathways that link education and health.

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Presented in Poster Session 4