Educational attainment—defined as the number of years or level of overall schooling a person has—can influence health in many ways. This issue brief examines three major interrelated pathways through which educational attainment is linked with health—health knowledge and behaviors; employment and income; and social and psychological factors, including sense of control, social standing and social support. In addition, this brief explores how educational attainment affects health across generations, examining the links between parents’ education—and the social and economic advantages it represents—and their children’s health and social advantages, including opportunities for educational attainment.
This is one in a series of issue briefs on the social determinants of health. The series began as a product of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America.