Previous studies have shown that people with a high school diploma or less education tend to die younger than those with a college degree or graduate training – but the association is not always true. Margie Lachman, from Brandeis University (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues explored whether personality traits may exert a role. In this study, less educated people with higher perceived control in their life had a mortality rate three times lower than those with a lower sense of control. In fact, a high sense of control seemed to negate the mortality risks of lower education. This effect remained after adjusting for potential confounding variables, including health behaviors, depressed affect, and general health (chronic illnesses, functional limitations, and self-rated health). The study authors submit that: “These findings demonstrate the importance of individual perceptions of control in buffering the mortality risk associated with educational disadvantage.”
Turiano NA, Chapman BP, Agrigoroaei S, Infurna FJ, Lachman M. “Perceived Control Reduces Mortality Risk at Low, Not High, Education Levels.” Health Psychol. 2014 Feb 3.
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