Predictors of physical health: Toward an integrated model of genetic and environmental antecedents

Wendy Johnson, Robert F. Krueger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

People in higher-income groups tend to experience better physical health, yet this does not appear to be the direct result of access to medical care. This has prompted a search for psychological factors more likely to be present in high-income environments that might help to explain the relationship. Physical health has been associated with a number of such psychological measures including positive affect and well-being, negative affect and neuroticism, positive social relationships, and perceived control. Building from recent findings of moderation of genetic variance in physical health by income and perceived control, we explore the genetic and environmental relationships among all these variables in a nationwide U.S. twin sample. These relationships suggest possible mechanisms by which psychological characteristics, behaviors, physical health, and environmental circumstances could be influenced by common groups of genes with varying degrees of activity in different environments. We discuss the implications of such mechanisms for differential expression of genetic variation in the population and suggest ways in which consideration of such effects can inform gerontology research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume60
Issue numberSPEC. ISS.
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005

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