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

  • Karri Silventoinen
  • Danielle Posthuma
  • Eero Lahelma
  • Richard J. Rose
  • Jaakko Kaprio
Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Self-rated health Adolescence Heritability 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karri Silventoinen
    • 1
  • Danielle Posthuma
    • 2
  • Eero Lahelma
    • 1
  • Richard J. Rose
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jaakko Kaprio
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Biological PsychologyFree University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Mental Health and Alcohol ResearchNational Public Health InstituteHelsinkiFinland

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