IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does Cognitive Status Modify the Relationship Between Education and Mortality? Evidence from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging


  • Jamie C. Brehaut
  • Parminder Raina
  • Joan Lindsay


Background: There is compelling evidence of an inverse relationship between level of education and increased mortality. In contrast to this, one study showed that among subjects with Alzheimer's Disease, those with high education are more than twice as likely to die earlier; however, this result has proven difficult to replicate. We examine the relationship between education and mortality by cognitive status using a large, nationally representative sample of elderly. Methods: A representative sample of 10,263 people aged 65 or over from the 10 Canadian provinces participated in the Canadian Study of Health and Aging in 1991. Information about age, gender, education, and an initial screening for cognitive impairment were collected; those who screened positive for cognitive impairment were referred for a complete clinical and neuropsychological examination, from which cognitive status and clinical severity of dementia were assessed. Vital status and date of death were collected at follow-up in 1996. The analysis was conducted using survival analysis. Findings: Cognitive status modifies the relationship between education and mortality. For those with no cognitive impairment, an inverse relationship between education and mortality exists. Elderly with cognitive impairment but no dementia, or those with dementia, are more likely to die early than the cognitively normal at baseline, but no relationship exists between education and mortality. Interpretation: These findings do not support previous work that showed a higher risk of mortality among highly educated dementia subjects.

Suggested Citation

  • Jamie C. Brehaut & Parminder Raina & Joan Lindsay, 2002. "Does Cognitive Status Modify the Relationship Between Education and Mortality? Evidence from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 80, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:80

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1994:84:6:932-937_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Backlund, Eric & Sorlie, Paul D. & Johnson, Norman J., 1999. "A comparison of the relationships of education and income with mortality: the national longitudinal mortality study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(10), pages 1373-1384, November.
    3. Mustard, Cameron A. & Derksen, Shelley & Berthelot, Jean-marie & Wolfson, Michael & Roos, Leslie L., 1997. "Age-specific education and income gradients in morbidity and mortality in a Canadian province," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 383-397, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Tamura, Robert, 2006. "Human capital and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 26-72, February.

    More about this item


    Alzheimer disease; cognition; dementia; education; epidemiology; etiology; mortality;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:80. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.