Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Education, Lack of: As a Risk Factor

  • Yori GidronEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_1395-2



Lack of education as a risk factor of health conditions is part of the category of factors termed socioeconomic status (SES). The level of education can be measured in several manners including years of education (e.g., 5, 10, 18 years), stage of achieved education (e.g., primary school, secondary school, professional vocation, academic degree, graduate studies), as well as types of education (e.g., vocational, humanities, engineering, biomedical, social sciences). Low education has been shown to be a risk factor of multiple disease outcomes and can be construed as a source of health inequalities. For example, Clegg et al. (2009) found that the level of education below high school was a risk factor of cancer in men and women. In a Scottish study, lower education was associated with shorter height, high blood pressure, smoking, poorer lung functioning, and higher risk of death (Davey Smith et al. 1998). In the same study, occupational...


Health Behavior Poor Health High Blood Pressure Health Inequality High Education Level 
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References and Further Readings

  1. Clegg, L. X., Reichman, M. E., Miller, B. A., Hankey, B. F., Singh, G. K., Lin, Y. D., Goodman, M. T., Lynch, C. F., Schwartz, S. M., Chen, V. W., Bernstein, L., Gomez, S. L., Graff, J. J., Lin, C. C., Johnson, N. J., & Edwards, B. K. (2009). Impact of socioeconomic status on cancer incidence and stage at diagnosis: Selected findings from the surveillance, epidemiology, and end results: National Longitudinal Mortality Study. Cancer Causes & Control, 20, 417–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Davey Smith, G., Hart, C., Hole, D., MacKinnon, P., Gillis, C., Watt, G., Blane, D., & Hawthorne, V. (1998). Education and occupational social class: Which is the more important indicator of mortality risk? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 52, 153–160.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Finkelstein, D. M., Kubzansky, L. D., Capitman, J., & Goodman, E. (2007). Socioeconomic differences in adolescent stress: The role of psychological resources. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 40, 127–134.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Janicki-Deverts, D., Cohen, S., Matthews, K. A., Gross, M. D., & Jacobs, D. R., Jr. (2009). Socioeconomic status, antioxidant micronutrients, and correlates of oxidative damage: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 71, 541–548.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Wu, L. L., Chiou, C. C., Chang, P. Y., & Wu, J. T. (2004). Urinary 8-OHdG: A marker of oxidative stress to DNA and a risk factor for cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetics. Clinical Chimestry Acta, 339, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine and PharmacyFree University of Brussels (VUB)JetteBelgium