Higher education associated with better ageing trajectories

School participation may have long-term effects on health and wellbeing

Question

What is the relationship between education and long-term health trajectories?

What was done?

1,141 community-dwelling older adults completed questionnaires three times across a four year period regarding their physical, psychological, and social health. Groups of participants that had particularly high levels of overall health were compared with those who had poorer long-term health. Levels of education were compared between groups of high and low levels of overall health.

What was found?

Participants in the highest overall health group had higher levels of education when compared to those in lower health groups.

How does this affect me?

Education may have long-term effects on health.

Article Abstract

As the population ages, interest is increasing in studying aging well. However, more refined means of examining predictors of biopsychosocial conceptualizations of successful aging (SA) are required. Existing evidence of the relationship between early-life education and later-life SA is unclear. The Successful Aging Index (SAI) was mapped onto the Cognitive Function and Aging Study (CFAS), a longitudinal population-based cohort ( n = 1,141). SAI scores were examined using growth mixture modelling (GMM) to identify SA trajectories. Unadjusted and adjusted (age, sex, occupational status) ordinal logistic regressions were conducted to examine the association between trajectory membership and education level. GMM identified a three-class model, capturing high, moderate, and low functioning trajectories. Adjusted ordinal logistic regression models indicated that individuals in higher SAI classes were significantly more likely to have higher educational attainment than individuals in the lower SAI classes. These results provide evidence of a life course link between education and SA.

Link to full article.

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