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Kendra Cherry

Could Getting a Degree Improve Your Health?

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideMarch 7, 2012

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earning a degree

Are you thinking of going back to school to earn a degree? Perhaps in part due the economic downturn, more and more non-traditional students (those age 25 and older) are going back to school to earn degrees and add more job skills. New research suggests that there is one more great reason to go back to school - it might improve your health. In a new study, researchers from the University of South Carolina found that earning a bachelor's degree after age 25 is associated with better health in midlife.

In the study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers analyzed more than 7,000 participants who were between the ages of 14 and 21 in 1979. Among those who had not earned a degree prior to age 25, going back to school and earning a degree before middle age was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and better self-rated health during midlife.

"About 38 percent of people pursuing college degrees are 25 years old or older," explains lead author Katrina Walsemann. "A significant percentage of U.S. individuals attain their highest degree after their mid-20s. The study has important implications for education and public health and how we think about policies to encourage people to pursue college degrees."


Walsemann, K. M., Bell, B. A., Hummer, R. A. (2012). Effects of Timing and Level of Degree Attained on Depressive Symptoms and Self-Rated Health at Midlife. American Journal of Public Health, 102(3), 557. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300216

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