Brief Report

International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 107-110

First online:

Education and depressive symptoms in 22 European countries

  • Olaf von dem KnesebeckAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Sociology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf Email author 
  • , Elise PattynAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Ghent University
  • , Piet BrackeAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Ghent University

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Variations in the association between education and depressive symptoms in 22 European countries are investigated.


Analyses are based on the European Social Survey Round 3 (N = 34,443). Education was coded according to the International Standard Classification of Education. Depressive symptoms are measured by the shortened Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D 8).


The results of multiple logistic regressions show that people with low education have elevated risks of experiencing a high score of depressive symptoms. Relatively large inequalities were observed among both sexes for Hungary and Slovenia, small and non-significant inequalities for Austria, Denmark, and Estonia.


The results indicate that educational inequalities in depressive symptoms are a generalized although not invariant phenomenon.


Educational inequalities Depressive symptoms Europe International differences