Social Factors and Health: Description of a new Norwegian twin study
AbstractA compelling literature substantiates that our social worlds have significant and far-reaching effects on
health and well-being throughout life. Yet, few studies of social factors and their effects on health have been
embedded within the twin design. Towards this end, we have initiated a new twin study on social factors and
health which will investigate the genetic and environmental influences on social environments, and explore
how social environments mediate these influences on physical and mental health. Herein, we describe the
study sample, response rates and measures. Twins born 1935-1960 were invited to complete a questionnaire
and these data were supplemented with information on cardiovascular disease and cancer through linkage to
national health registries. Among the 10655 twins who were contacted, responses were received from 5446
individuals (1989 pairs and 1468 single responders). The subsample of pairs where both twins responded includes
1004 identical (MZ) pairs and 985 fraternal (DZ) pairs. The overall individual and pairwise response
rates were 51% and 37%, respectively. The average age is 61.54 years, 56.1% of the responders are female
and 46.1% are identical twins. MZ twins were more likely to participate than DZ twins. Sex and age effects
were statistically significant for many of the psychosocial measures and for measures of support and strain
in the social network. There were no differences in the social networks between twins in pairs where both
twins responded and twins in pairs where only one twin responded.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Norsk Epidemiologi licenses all content of the journal under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence. This means, among other things, that anyone is free to copy and distribute the content, as long as they give proper credit to the author(s) and the journal. For further information, see Creative Commons website for human readable or lawyer readable versions.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).