Correlation between low education and poor mental health status

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Abstract

Problems related to mental health have raised general public concern in the last few years. According to, epidemiological studies reveal that a wide range of indicators such as the social networks and general quality of life significantly affects the mental health status of an individual. Based on these studies, there exists a strong positive correlation between an individual’s mental health status and their level of education. These studies have hypothesized that the mental health status of an individual is directly proportional to their level of education such that more educated people have enhanced mental abilities and the consequent mental health. This is attributed to the structural advantages and improved coping mechanisms associated with higher education levels since they significantly enhance the mental health of an individual. However, basing this hypothesis on a social selection criterion, it’s imperative that higher educational attainment acts as a proxy for the oblivious endowments that confound the correlation between the level of education and the mental health status of an individual. This population profile paper seeks to establish the degree of correlation between these two variables across a wide range of population characteristics. This study will review relevant articles to quantify the nature of relationship between the two variables in the adults above 25 years old. Moreover, special focus will be laid on those that hold a high school or a GED diploma relative to those without.

Introduction

The advancement in educational level significantly impacts the life of an individual since it forms the basis of their perceptions, attitude, and their actions. This is apart from forming the basis for their career. The education alters the individual’s mental state by helping them attain healthy mental attitudes and perceptions towards a wide range of issues due to the impact on the human psychology. Imperatively, a number of people in the United States do not get the opportunity to complete their high school education or the GED for a number of reasons which include the economic status and family constraints (Ryan & Bauman, 2016). What becomes of these people?.  Research shows that most of the people end up in worse conditions due to their altered mental state.  The presumption that educational attainment is directly proportional to the financial success in life is a major cause of stress to these individuals. Therefore, it’s worth noting that stress is a major contributor to the altered mental state of an individual. For instance, St. Matthews House which is an organization that provides shelter for many people suffering from various mental and psychological issues is a good resource center for identification of the cases of mental illnesses in people with different academic qualifications (St. Matthews House, 2017). Low educational attainment results in a comparatively low self-esteem and social regard by the society while more educated people are regarded with respect and admiration. This difference also alters the individual’s mental health status significantly. For this study, census data will be used to determine the ratio of the people with GED and those without, their states of mental health, and the correlation between these variables.

According to a study conducted by the United States Census Bureau in, 12% of the total population had not completed the high school education level (U.S Census Bureau, 2011). Among these people, 21% of the population is aged between above 25 years. Based on a prior research, the positive correlation between the level of education and the mental health status is quantified by the fact that more educated people have the ability to mentally cope with situations compared to those with no high school diploma or GED (Halpern-Manners, et al., 2016). A survey carried out on the levels of education in Collier County, Florida by the American Community Survey reveals that the percentage of people who have not schooling at all are more likely to suffer from mental disturbances due to the mental stress associated with joblessness among other factors such as low psychosocial skills. The fact that only 5.9% of the total population of people in the State of Florida has a ‘less than high school’ educational attainment shows the this group of people gradually suffer altered mental states due to the inability to cope with intricate life issues in a society where most people are educated (Naples, 2017).The pie chart below shows the percentage of people in Collier County, Florida based on their levels of educational attainment for individuals above 25 years of age.

Based on a health survey research, people with low educational levels have higher chances of experiencing problems related to mental health compared to the more educated people. However, this does not mean that altered mental health status is an indication of mental illness despite the close correlation between the two. The low mental health status in the people with low educational attainment is associated with reduced life satisfaction. This is due to the direct association between the psychological distress and the educational attainment since the correlation is mediated by an coping mechanisms and the psychological variables such as employment, social support, unpleasant experiences, income level, and marital status of the individual (VCU, 2015). These factors are more prevalent in lowly educated people compared to the people with a diploma or a GED. According to a survey carried out in Norway to investigate the correlation between mental health status and the level of education of an individual, the research found out that 39.4% of the participants during the survey suffered mental depression due to failure to complete the high school level of education (Melvik et al., 2016). This research data quantified the direct correlation between low education levels and high cases of mental illness.

Questions:

  1. What are the challenges associated with low education level between the people who work in the voluntary organizations such as the St. Matthews House compared to those seeking assistance in the organization?
  2. How many people in this organization are above 25 years old?
  3. What is the numerical difference between the people with high educational attainment and those without atleast a high school diploma or a GED in this organization?
  4. What are the best methods of helping people with signs of mental health in this organization?
  5. Are there cases of people with higher educational levels in this facility experiencing mental problems?
  6. Based on previous experiences, is there any notable case of mental illness that can be attributed to low educational levels?

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  1. Naples, F. (2017). Naples FL Education data. Towncharts.com. Retrieved 17 December 2017, from http://www.towncharts.com/Florida/Education/Naples-city-FL-Education-data.html
  2. About Our House | St. Matthew’s House – Naples, FL. (2017). Retrieved October 25, 2017, from https://stmatthewshouse.org/about/
  3. Educational Attainment: Five Key Data Releases from the U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). Retrieved October 25, 2017, from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/cspan/educ/educ_attain_slides.pdf
  4. Ryan , C. L., & Bauman, K. (2016). Educational Attainment in the United States: 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/demo/p20-578.pdf
  5. Halpern-Manners, A., Schnabel, L., Hernandez, E. M., Silberg, J. L., & Eaves, L. J. (2016). The relationship between education and mental health: New evidence from a discordant twin study. Social Forces, 95(1), 107. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.fgcu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.fgcu.edu/docview/1819956039?accountid=10919
  6. Why Education Matters to Health: Exploring the Causes. (2015, February 13). Retrieved October 27, 2017, from https://societyhealth.vcu.edu/work/the-projects/why-education-matters-to-health-exploring-the-causes.html
  7. Melkevik, O., Hauge, L., Bendtsen, P., Reneflot, A., Mykletun, A., & Aaro, L. (2016). Associations between delayed completion of high school and educational attainment and symptom levels of anxiety and depression in adulthood. BMC Psychiatry ,16(64). doi:10.1186/s12888-016-0765-1
  8. Maynard, B. R., Salas-Wright, C. P., & Vaughn, M. G. (2015). High school dropouts in emerging adulthood: substance use, mental health problems, and crime. Community Mental Health Journal, 51(3), 289–299. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-014-9760-5
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