Living Healthier and Longer: A Life Course Perspective on Education and Health

Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson, Jeremy Staff, John E. Schulenberg, Megan E. Patrick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


Decades of research documents a strong and enduring relationship between educational attainment and health and longevity. Our chapter begins by briefly reviewing the theoretical explanations for this important social fact and highlighting key ways in which the life course perspective has fundamentally shaped the research questions and debates in the area. From there we outline three directions in which we argue further application of the life course perspective would benefit our understanding: (1) merging selection and causal effect processes into a long-term, multigenerational view; (2) linking health across the years in which people largely achieve their educations, and the short-term processes involved, with longer-term processes and mid- to late-life health outcomes; and (3) assessing historical trends in the mediating mechanisms and their implications for health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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