Mendelian randomisation analysis of the effect of educational attainment and cognitive ability on smoking behaviour

Eleanor Sanderson*, George Davey Smith, Jack Bowden, Marcus Munafo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

6 Citations (Scopus)
175 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Recent analyses have shown educational attainment to be associated with a number of health outcomes. This association may, in part, be due to an effect of educational attainment on smoking behaviour. In this study, we apply a multivariable Mendelian randomisation design to determine whether the effect of educational attainment on smoking behaviour is due to educational attainment or general cognitive ability. We use individual data from the UK Biobank study (N = 120,050) and summary data from large GWA studies of educational attainment, cognitive ability and smoking behaviour. Our results show that more years of education are associated with a reduced likelihood of smoking that is not due to an effect of general cognitive ability on smoking behaviour. Given the considerable physical harms associated with smoking, the effect of educational attainment on smoking is likely to contribute to the health inequalities associated with differences in educational attainment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2949
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Cognitive Science

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  • Projects

    Rework of IEU Munafo Programme

    Munafo, M. R.

    1/04/1831/03/23

    Project: Research

    IEU: MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit Quinquennial renewal

    Gaunt, L. F. & Davey Smith, G.

    1/04/1831/03/23

    Project: Research

    Rework of IEU 2 Bowden Programme

    Gaunt, L. F.

    1/04/1830/11/19

    Project: Research

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