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Molecular Genetics and Subjective Well-Being

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Author Info

  • Meike Bartels
  • Daniel J. Benjamin
  • David Cesarini
  • Jan-Emmanuel De Neve
  • Magnus Johannesson
  • Philipp D. Koellinger
  • Robert F. Krueger
  • Patrik K. E. Magnusson
  • Nancy L. Pedersen
  • Cornelius A. Rietveld
  • Henning Tiemeier

Abstract

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, while the common narrow heritability is not large, the polymorphisms that contribute to it could feasibly be discovered with a sufficiently large sample of individuals.

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File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1225.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1225.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1225

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

Related research

Keywords: subjective well-being; heritability; genetics; GREML;

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Cited by:
  1. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Ed Diener & Louis Tay & Cody Xuereb, 2013. "The Objective Benefits of Subjective Well-Being," CEP Discussion Papers dp1236, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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