Attaining at least a bachelor’s degree after age 25 is associated with better midlife health, reports a new study published yesterday in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers examined whether attaining a higher educational degree after 25 years of age was associated lower rates of depression and better health than not attaining a higher degree. Analyzing data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, they found that among respondents with no degree, a high school diploma or a post-high school certificate at age 25, attaining at least a bachelor’s degree after midlife was associated with fewer depressive symptoms and better self-rated health at midlife compared with respondents who did not attain a higher degree by midlife. Those with an associate’s degree by age of 25 who later attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, also reported better health at midlife.

The study’s authors said, “Our results, however, suggest that a nontrivial percentage of U.S. individuals attain their highest degree after their mid-20s.” They concluded, “Our study provides preliminary evidence that the timing of education is associated with health and that attaining at least a bachelor’s degree after the mid-20s may result in health benefits for U.S. adults.”