Educated People Are More Creative, Healthier

According to a study by the American Sociological Association, reported in the December, 2008 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, creative work is good for your health, and employees who have more control over their daily activities and can do challenging work are likely to be in better health.

“People with higher levels of education tend to have more creative activities, paid or not,” says lead author John Mirowsky, a sociology professor with the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. “Something about education helps individuals to find creative things to do and get the resources to do them.”

The most important finding, Mirowsky notes, is that creative activity helps people stay healthy. “Creative activity is non-routine, enjoyable, and provides opportunity for learning and for solving problems. People who do that kind of work, whether paid or not, feel healthier and have fewer physical problems.

“The health advantage of being somewhat above average in creative work [in the 60th percentile] versus being somewhat below average [in the 40th percentile] is equal to being 6.7 years younger. It is also equal to having two more years of education or 15 times greater household income.”

Although the authors didn’t examine specific job positions that may confer this health advantage, professions considered not to involve a “creative” environment were those such as assembly lines. Jobs that are high-status, with managerial authority, or that require complex work with data, generally provide more access to creative work, Mirowsky says. 

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