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Molecular genetics and subjective well-being

Rietveld, Cornelius A., Cesarini, David, Benjamin, Daniel J., Koellinger, Philipp D., De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel, Tiemeier, Henning, Johannesson, Magnus, Magnusson, Patrick K. E., Pedersen, Nancy L., Krueger, Robert F. and Bartels, Meike (2013) Molecular genetics and subjective well-being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (24). pp. 9692-9697. ISSN 0027-8424

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Identification Number: 10.1073/pnas.1222171110


Subjective well-being (SWB) is a major topic of research across the social sciences. Twin and family studies have found that genetic factors may account for as much as 30-40% of the variance in SWB. Here, we study genetic contributions to SWB in a pooled sample of ≈11,500 unrelated, comprehensively-genotyped Swedish and Dutch individuals. We apply a recently developed method to estimate "common narrow heritability": the fraction of variance in SWB that can be explained by the cumulative additive effects of genetic polymorphisms that are common in the population. Our estimates are 5-10% for single-question survey measures of SWB, and 12-18% after correction for measurement error in the SWB measures. Our results suggest guarded optimism about the prospects of using genetic data in SWB research because, although the common narrow heritability is not large, the polymorphisms that contribute to it could feasibly be discovered with a sufficiently large sample of individuals.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 National Academy of Sciences
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2013 15:53
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2022 23:17
Projects: (E9/11), (EArly Concept Grants for Exploratory Research: “Workshop for the Formation of a Social Science Genetic Association Consortium”, SES-1064089), P01-AG005842, P01-AG005842-20S2, P30-AG012810, and T32-AG000186-23, [ENGAGE: 7th Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013)/Grant agreement HEALTH-F4-2007-201413; and GenomEUtwin: 5th Framework program “Quality of Life and Management of the Living Resources” Grant QLG2-CT-2002-01254], (ICA08-0047), Grant RO1-AG040640
Funders: Ragnar Söderberg Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Institute on Aging/NIH, Swedish Department of Higher Education, the European Commission European Network for Genetic and Genomic Epidemiology, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation, UK Department for Work and Pensions and National Institute on Aging/NIH

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