Having Educated Children Contributes to a Woman’s Longevity

A new study led by a scholar at the University of Alabama Birmingham has found that women whose adult children are highly educated are more likely to live longer than women with adult children with lower levels of education. Previous research by social scientists has found that a woman’s education, occupation, and wealth relate to the length of their lives, but this new research suggests that the success of their children also contributes to a woman’s longevity.

The researchers examined information from 3,349 women, who were between the ages of 30 and 47 in 1967, and who are now members of the growing elderly population in the United States. Overall, higher education correlated with a longer life. But the findings showed significant racial differences. While education correlated with White women’s longevity, Black women’s education had no association with how long they lived. However, the research showed that the education of adult children was a strong predictor of longevity for both Black and White women.

Lead author Dr. Joseph D. Wolfe stated, “This could mean that the education of Black women’s children provides resources that their own education, in addition to the educational attainments of their parents and spouses, does not provide.”

Dr. Wolfe also believes that his findings could suggest a new approach for reducing premature death among older women. “As the United States prepares for this increase in the population of older adults, our findings suggest that social policies aimed at addressing educational inequalities among children and adolescents from disadvantaged families may offer a potential path to reducing health disparities among the elderly.”

The study “Multigenerational Attainments, Race, and Mortality Risk Among Silent Generation Women” was published by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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