Mental Health, Schooling Attainment and Polygenic Scores: Are there Significant Genetic-Environmental Associations?

32 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2020

See all articles by Vikesh Amin

Vikesh Amin

Central Michigan University

Jere Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; Yale University - School of Public Health

Carlos A. Flores

University of Miami

Alfonso Flores-Lagunes

Syracuse University - Department of Economics

Hans-Peter Kohler

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Sociology

Date Written: February 5, 2020

Abstract

We estimate associations between a polygenic score (PGS) for depressive symptoms, schooling attainment and genetic-environmental (GxE) associations with depressive symptoms and depression for 29 years old in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and 53 years old in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS). We find some suggestive evidence that the association of the PGS with mental health is lower for more-schooled older individuals in the WLS, but no evidence in Add Health. Quantile regression estimates also show that in the WLS the GxE associations are statistically significant only in the upper parts of the conditional depressive symptoms score distribution. We assess the robustness of the OLS results to possible omitted variable bias by estimating sibling fixed-effect regressions. The sibling fixed-effect results must be qualified, in part due to low statistical power. However, they show that college education is associated with fewer depressive symptoms in both datasets.

Keywords: Schooling; Mental Health; Genetics; Gene-Environment Interactions

JEL Classification: I21, I10

Suggested Citation

Amin, Vikesh and Behrman, Jere R. and Fletcher, Jason M. and Flores, Carlos A. and Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso and Kohler, Hans-Peter, Mental Health, Schooling Attainment and Polygenic Scores: Are there Significant Genetic-Environmental Associations? (February 5, 2020). PIER Working Paper No. 20-007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3532645 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3532645

Vikesh Amin

Central Michigan University

Jere R. Behrman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Carlos A. Flores

University of Miami ( email )

Coral Gables, FL 33124
United States

Alfonso Flores-Lagunes

Syracuse University - Department of Economics ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Hans-Peter Kohler

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Sociology ( email )

3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7686 (Phone)
215-898-2124 (Fax)

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