Education, learned effectiveness and health
John Mirowsky and Catherine E. Ross
University of Texas at Austin, USA
Education forms a unique dimension of social status with qualities that make it especially important to health. Educational attainment marks social status at the beginning of adulthood, functioning as the main bridge between the status of one generation and the next, and also as the main avenue of upward mobility. It precedes the other achieved social statuses and substantially influences them, including occupation and occupational status, earnings, personal and household income and wealth, and freedom from economic hardship. Education creates desirable outcomes because it trains individuals to acquire, evaluate and use information. It teaches individuals to tap the power of knowledge. As a result, education influences health in ways that are varied, present at all stages of adult life, cumulative, self-amplifying and uniformly positive. Education develops the learned effectiveness that enables self-direction toward any and all values sought, including health.