Gene-environment interaction in adults' IQ scores: Measures of past and present environment

Sophie Van Der Sluis*, Gonneke Willemsen, Eco J.C. De Geus, Dorret I. Boomsma, Danielle Posthuma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Gene-environment interaction was studied in a sample of young (mean age 26 years, N = 385) and older (mean age 49 years, N = 370) adult males and females. Full scale IQ scores (FSIQ) were analyzed using biometric models in which additive genetic (A), common environmental (C), and unique environmental (E) effects were allowed to depend on environmental measures. Moderators under study were parental and partner educational level, as well as urbanization level and mean real estate price of the participants' residential area. Mean effects were observed for parental education, partner education and urbanization level. On average, FSIQ scores were roughly 5 points higher in participants with highly educated parents, compared to participants whose parents were less well educated. In older participants, IQ scores were about 2 points higher when their partners were highly educated. In younger males, higher urbanization levels were associated with slightly higher FSIQ scores. Our analyses also showed increased common environmental variation in older males whose parents were more highly educated, and increased unique environmental effects in older males living in more affluent areas. Contrary to studies in children, however, the variance attributable to additive genetic effects was stable across all levels of the moderators under study. Most results were replicated for VIQ and PIQ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-360
Number of pages13
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008

Cite this