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Education does not guarantee happiness

education doesn't make you happier

Being well-educated does not guarantee happiness, a new study suggests.


While previous studies have found a strong link between low levels of education and mental illness, researchers from the University of Warwick in Coventry, England decided to test the opposite theory -- that high levels of education were associated with mental well-being.

The researchers analyzed the responses of more than 17,000 people in England who were surveyed in 2010 and 2011. They found that people with varying levels of education had similar odds of having high levels of mental well-being.

“These findings are quite controversial because we expected to find the socioeconomic factors that are associated with mental illness would also be correlated with mental well-being,” said lead author Sarah Stewart-Brown, a professor at the Warwick Medical School. “So if low educational attainment was strongly associated with mental illness, high educational attainment would be strongly connected to mental well-being. But that is not the case.”

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The study also found high levels of mental well-being among Afro-Caribbeans, particularly men.

“Given the well-recognized association between ethnicity and detention under the Mental Health Act and the more general associations between mental illness and ethnicity, we were very surprised to find substantially increased odds of high mental well-being among minority ethnic groups, particularly African and African-Caribbean, Indian and Pakistani groups,” Stewart-Brown said.

The study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

While higher education may not be linked to increased happiness, a 2011 study published in the journal Biomed Central suggested that higher education is linked to a longer and healthier life, as well as lower blood pressure. The study found that educated men and women were less likely to engage in risky health behaviors compared to men and women with less education. They were also more likely to sustain lower blood pressure, even after adjusting for other health risks.