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Childhood IQ and survival to 79: Follow-up of 94% of the Scottish Mental Survey 1947

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  • Iva Čukić
  • Caroline E. Brett
  • Catherine M. Calvin
  • G. David Batty
  • Ian J. Deary

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http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0160289616302367
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-50
JournalIntelligence
Volume63
Early online date1 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jul 2017

Abstract

Objective

To extend previous literature that suggests higher IQ in youth is associated with living longer. Previous studies have been unable to assess reliably whether the effect differs across sexes and ages of death, and whether the effect is graded across different levels of IQ.

Methods

We test IQ-survival associations in 94% of the near-entire population born in Scotland in 1936 who took an IQ test at age 11 (n = 70,805) and were traced in a 68-year follow-up.

Results

Higher IQ at age 11 years was associated with a lower risk of death (HR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.79, 0.81). The decline in risk across categories of IQ scores was graded across the full range with the effect slightly stronger in women (HR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.77, 0.80) than in men (HR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.81, 0.84). Higher IQ had a significantly stronger association with death before and including age 65 (HR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.74, 0.77) than in those participants who died at an older age (HR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.78, 0.80).

Conclusions

Higher childhood IQ is associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality in both men and women. This is the only near-entire population study to date that examines the association between childhood IQ and mortality across most of the human life course.

    Research areas

  • childhood intelligence, IQ, all-cause mortality, SMS1947, sex differences

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