The Moderating Role of Conscientiousness in the Relationship Between Education and Health in Later Life

Jin Hyung Kim , University of Wisconsin-Madison

The association between education and health has been studied extensively. This research consistently shows that more highly-educated individuals are healthier and that the benefits of education for health typically persist over the life course. Prior research has also found that the mediation effect of psychosocial factors on the association between education and health was limited-only about 10%. Focusing on conscientiousness, one of the Big-Five personality traits, and using directly measures of physical functioning in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study(WLS), I investigate the moderating role of conscientiousness in the relationship between education and health. Using OLS regression, I find that: 1) Post-secondary education is strongly associated with health, 2) Conscientiousness does play a role in moderating the education and health relationship 3) Conscientiousness does little to mediate the relationship between education and health. Overall, the results suggest that the benefits of conscientiousness may outweigh the costs of low-educational attainment in promoting health.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging