Depression : the risks vary according to the level of instruction

Health 13 September, 2017


Published the 12.09.2017 at 18: 26


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The links between depression and education level still remain poorly understood. A large study attempts to provide some answers in this area. From the edition 2017 of the education Report of the OECD, the work shows a statistical fall in the risk of depression as it elevates the level of instruction. These conclusions are based on a survey conducted in 2014 in 26 european countries, as well as on four national surveys for Australia, Canada, Israel and Switzerland.

The depressive disorders “in the course of the twelve months preceding the interview” were 8 % of persons aged 25 to 64 years of age surveyed in the european countries. But this prevalence varied significantly according to the level of training, notes the OECD. According to the data, the percentage of depression is twice as high among adults who are not graduates of the second cycle of secondary education (12 % of respondents) than among the higher education graduates (6 %).

Variations between countries

But in detail, the figures vary greatly from one country to the other. For seven of the 30 countries concerned by the report, the data collected do not allow to conclude to the existence of the phenomenon. Similarly, the differences between high school graduates and those of the supervisor were very variable from one country to another, and often much less marked than between non-graduates and graduates. These data must be interpreted with caution.

Previous work has already identified that a higher level of education is statistically associated with rates of unemployment lower and higher incomes, which are themselves associated with a lower prevalence of anxiety and depression. But taking into account the income level, the correlation between level of education and depression remains identified for 14 countries. “The mechanisms involved are more complex “, are the authors.

The researchers of the OECD have noted that education “contributes to the development of a series of skills”, which can have an impact on depression. Thus, ” the strengthening of social and emotional skills, such as self-esteem, has more impact that the strengthening of math skills or “literary”.