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Genetics & the Geography of Health, Behavior, and Attainment
Daniel W Belsky,
Benjamin W Domingue,
Kathleen Mullan Harris,
Terrie E Moffitt,
Posted 25 Jul 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/376897
Posted 25 Jul 2018
People's life chances can be predicted by their neighborhoods. This observation is driving efforts to improve lives by changing neighborhoods. Some neighborhood effects may be causal, supporting neighborhood-level interventions. Other neighborhood effects may reflect selection of families with different characteristics into different neighborhoods, supporting interventions that target families/individuals directly. To test how selection affects different neighborhood-linked problems, we linked neighborhood data with genetic, health, and social-outcome data for >7,000 European-descent UK and US young people in the E-Risk and Add Health Studies. We tested selection/concentration of genetic risks for obesity, schizophrenia, teen-pregnancy, and poor educational outcomes in high-risk neighborhoods, including genetic analysis of neighborhood mobility. Findings argue against genetic selection/concentration as an explanation for neighborhood gradients in obesity and mental-health problems, suggesting neighborhoods may be causal. In contrast, modest genetic selection/concentration was evident for teen-pregnancy and poor educational outcomes, suggesting neighborhood effects for these outcomes should be interpreted with care.
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