Behavior Genetics

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 171–180 | Cite as

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Adolescents’ Smoking Involvement: A Multi-informant Twin Study

  • Karoline Brobakke SeglemEmail author
  • Trine Waaktaar
  • Helga Ask
  • Svenn Torgersen
Original Research


Studying monozygotic and dizygotic adolescent twin pairs of both sexes reared together, the present study examined the extent to which the variance in smoking involvement is attributable to genetic and environmental effects, and to what extent there are sex differences in the etiology. Questionnaire data on how often the adolescent had ever smoked tobacco was collected from a population-based twin sample consisting of seven national birth cohorts (ages 12–18), their mothers, and their fathers (N = 1,394 families). The data was analyzed with multivariate genetic modeling, using a multi-informant design. The etiological structure of smoking involvement was best represented in an ACE common pathway model, with smoking defined as a latent factor loading onto all three informants’ reports. Estimates could be set equal across sexes. Results showed that adolescent lifetime smoking involvement was moderately heritable (37 %). The largest influence was from the shared environment (56 %), while environmental effects unique to each twin had minimal influence (7 %).


Tobacco smoking Twin study Adolescents Genetic and environmental effects Heritability Multi-informant 



The Norwegian Research Council (Grant ref: 170089) provides core support for the longitudinal twin cohort study, and funding for this specific research (Grant ref: 213760). We would also like to thank Hermine Maes for providing assistance with OpenMx scripts.

Conflict of Interest

Karoline Brobakke Seglem, Trine Waaktaar, Helga Ask, and Svenn Torgersen declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karoline Brobakke Seglem
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Trine Waaktaar
    • 2
  • Helga Ask
    • 1
    • 2
  • Svenn Torgersen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Eastern and Southern NorwayOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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