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The Effect of Education on Health Behavior after Screening for Colorectal Cancer

Human Capital and Health Behavior

ISBN: 978-1-78635-466-2, eISBN: 978-1-78635-465-5

Publication date: 20 May 2017


Misinterpretation of a negative test results in health screening may initiate less preventive effort and more future lifestyle-related disease. We predict that misinterpretation occurs more frequently among individuals with a low level of education compared with individuals with a high level of education.

The empirical analyses are based on unique data from a randomized controlled screening experiment in Norway, NORCCAP (NORwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention). The dataset consists of approximately 50,000 individuals, of whom 21,000 were invited to participate in a once only screening with sigmoidoscopy. For all individuals, we also have information on outpatient consultations and inpatient stays and education. The result of health behaviour is mainly measured by lifestyle-related diseases, such as COPD, hypertension and diabetes type 2, identified by ICD-10 codes.

The results according to intention-to-treat indicate that screening does not increase the occurrence of lifestyle related diseases among individuals with a high level of education, while there is an increase for individuals with low levels of education. These results are supported by the further analyses among individuals with a negative screening test.




The authors are grateful to organizers and participants at the Human Capital and Health Behavior Conference at the Centre for Health Economics at the University of Gothenburg for helpful comments. Thank you in particular to discussant Anne Royalty and to reviewer Robert Kaestner. Thank you also to participants at seminars at University of Hamburg, University of Oslo, the EuHEA conference in Hamburg 2016 and to Magnus Løberg for suggestions and help. The usual disclaimer applies.


Aas, E., Iversen, T. and Hoff, G. (2017), "The Effect of Education on Health Behavior after Screening for Colorectal Cancer", Human Capital and Health Behavior (Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research, Vol. 25), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 207-242.



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