Behavior Genetics

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 326–333

Genetic and Environmental Factors Affecting Self-Rated Health from Age 16–25: A Longitudinal Study of Finnish Twins


    • Department of Public HealthUniversity of Helsinki
  • Danielle Posthuma
    • Department of Biological PsychologyFree University of Amsterdam
  • Eero Lahelma
    • Department of Public HealthUniversity of Helsinki
  • Richard J. Rose
    • Department of Public HealthUniversity of Helsinki
    • Department of PsychologyIndiana University
  • Jaakko Kaprio
    • Department of Public HealthUniversity of Helsinki
    • Department of Mental Health and Alcohol ResearchNational Public Health Institute
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10519-006-9096-1

Cite this article as:
Silventoinen, K., Posthuma, D., Lahelma, E. et al. Behav Genet (2007) 37: 326. doi:10.1007/s10519-006-9096-1


We analyzed genetic and environmental determinants of self-rated health and its change from adolescence to early adulthood. Questionnaires were mailed to Finnish twins born 1975–1979 at ages 16, 17, \(18\frac{1}{2}\) and, on average, 25 years of age (N = 2465 complete twin pairs). The data were analyzed using quantitative genetic methods for twin data by the Mx statistical package. Heritability of self-rated health was greatest at age 16 (63%, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 56–67%, men and women together) and declined steadily to age 25 (33%, 95% CI 25–41%). The residual variation was due to unshared environments. Health ratings at different ages were modestly correlated (r = 0.33–0.61). These correlations were mainly due to genetic factors, but unshared environment also contributed to them. An important challenge for further research is to identify environmental influences contributing to self-rated health independently of, or in interaction with, genetic factors.


Self-rated health Adolescence Heritability

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006