Does Education Confer a Culture of Healthy Behavior? Smoking and Drinking Patterns in Danish Twins




More education is associated with healthier smoking and drinking behaviors. Most analyses of effects of education focus on mean levels. Few studies have compared variance in health-related behaviors at different levels of education or analyzed how education impacts underlying genetic and environmental sources of health-related behaviors. This study explored these influences. In a 2002 postal questionnaire, 21,522 members of the Danish Twin Registry, born during 1931-1982, reported smoking and drinking habits. The authors used quantitative genetic models to examine how these behaviors' genetic and environmental variances differed with level of education, adjusting for birth-year effects. As expected, more education was associated with less smoking, and average drinking levels were highest among the most educated. At 2 standard deviations above the mean educational level, variance in smoking and drinking was about one-third that among those at 2 standard deviations below, because fewer highly educated people reported high levels of smoking or drinking. Because shared environmental variance was particularly restricted, one explanation is that education created a culture that discouraged smoking and heavy drinking. Correlations between shared environmental influences on education and the health behaviors were substantial among the well-educated for smoking in both sexes and drinking in males, reinforcing this Notion.




Additional Info

  • Authors:

    Johnson,W.; Kyvik,K.O.; Mortensen,E.L.; Skytthe,A.; Batty,G.D.; Deary,I.J.

  • Issue: Am.J.Epidemiol., pages 55-63
  • Published Date: 2010/11/4
  • More Information:

    For more information about this abstract, please contact
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at the Deutsche Weinakademie GmbH

Read 882 times

Contact us

We love your feedback. Get in touch with us.

  • Tel: +32 (0)2 230 99 70
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer and Privacy Policy.