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Open Access Publications from the University of California

 Education and Life’s Simple 7: An evaluation of differential returns by sex, race, and childhood socioeconomic status

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Few studies have examined whether the benefits of education for health differ across sociodemographic subgroups. We investigated whether educational attainment is associated with cardiovascular health, as measured by the Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) score, and whether the association differs by demographic characteristics. Data were obtained from the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study (N=8,759 participants; mean age=63.8).

We used linear regression analyses with interactions by sex, race, childhood socioeconomic status (SES), and geography. Socially vulnerable groups (i.e., men from low childhood SES backgrounds, White people from low childhood SES backgrounds, Black people from low childhood SES backgrounds) benefitted less from each additional year of education than socially advantaged groups in predicting LS7 scores. However, we did not find evidence that differential returns extended to every group. Findings suggest that the inequalities present in the education system may further exacerbate the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged.

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