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Advanced Education and Mortality Compression in the United States 145

Matthews, & Brayne, 2007; Melzer, Izmirlian, Leveille, & Guralnik,

2001; Zimmer & House, 2003). In sum, it has been shown that a

persistent positive and robust relationship exists between education

and a variety of health measures and longevity, and that this

relationship exists across age groups, cohorts and time periods

(Cutler & Lleras-Muney, 2006; Lynch, 2003; Masters, Hummer, &

Powers, 2012; Mirowsky & Ross, 2003). As education has been

viewed as a “fundamental cause” of mortality disparities (Link &

Phelan, 1995; Phelan & Link, 2005), having more education could

possibly allow individuals to acquire more health-related resources

and thereby extend their lives and delay the onset of morbidity,

resulting in mortality compression. Brown et al. (2012) use two

nationally representative data sets to display the significance of

education for mortality compression in the United States.

Most mortality compression research investigates trends over

time (Cheung & Robine, 2007; Cheung et al., 2008; Ouellette &

Bourbeau, 2011) due to the common assumption that

socioenvironmental and technological improvements associated

with socioeconomic development are reflected as differences in

longevity and compression over time (Brown et al., 2012). However,

studies have shown that improved longevity can be accompanied by

constant compression at the population level (Ouellette & Bourbeau,

2011) while socioeconomic differences in longevity within a

population are accompanied by differences in old-age mortality

compression (Brown et al., 2012).

Brown et al. (2012) found the significance of education on

mortality compression in the United States by adopting the best-

fitting form identified by Montez, Hummer, and Hayward (2012)

to distinguish older Americans’ educational attainment into the

categories of 0-11 years, 12 years, and 13+ years. These educational

categories correspond roughly to less than a high school education

(0-11 years), high school graduation (12 years), and some college

education and above (13+ years) (Brown et al., 2012; Chiu,

Hayward, & Saito, 2016). Montez et al. (2012) examined different

forms from a review of the relationship between education-mortality