Selective schooling and long-term health

Education is associated with better health. However, it is still unclear whether it has a causal impact. Natural experiment studies allow better assessment of causality. This study uses data from a 1950s Aberdeen birth cohort for whom test score, secondary school attended and later life health are available to test the impact of secondary schooling on health. 

Anonymised linkages will be made between the following previously collected datasets: 

  1. Data from age six to 12: cognitive test scores; verbal and mathematics tests scores; teachers' assessments; family socio-demographic information (collected as part of ACONF study).
  2. Data from mid-life: responses to a survey of physical and mental health, education history, and sociodemographic characteristics (collected as part of ACONF study).
  3. Health data: number of chronic conditions derived from diagnoses from hospital admission and mental health inpatient databases from Scottish Medical Records derived by ISD: SMR01 and SMR04.

Key questions

  1. Is attending a selective school associated with a different risk of poor health in later life compared to attending a non-selective school? 
  2. Does the association with selective schooling vary by childhood socio-economic background?

Project lead

Dr Frank Popham, University of Glasgow, Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (ADR Scotland).

This project is funded by ADR Scotland via its core grant from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) as an ADR UK partner.

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