A new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, and Northwestern University in Illinois, offers further evidence to the fact that college graduates enjoy healthier, longer lives compared with individuals who do not graduate from college. But the study finds that the health benefit of educational attainment is not as great for Blacks as it is for Whites.
The authors found that the Black–White gap in life expectancy is greater at higher levels of educational attainment. They also suggests that African Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds who went to college have worse physical health than their similarly disadvantaged peers who did not attend college.
The authors speculate that “when young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve upward mobility the higher-status environment in which they find themselves may differ greatly from their social environment of origin; such incongruence can lead to isolation and a lack of social support.”
The study notes that Blacks who complete college may find themselves in a White-controlled hostile or discriminatory environment and this may raise levels of stress which could lead to health problems.
The full study, “College Completion Predicts Lower Depression but Higher Metabolic Syndrome Among Disadvantaged Minorities in Young Adulthood,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It may be accessed here.