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Differential Epidemiology: IQ, Neuroticism, And Chronic Disease By The 50 U.S. States
  • Bryan J. Pesta, Cleveland State University
  • Sharon Bertsch, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
  • Michael A. McDaniel, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Christine B. Mahoney
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  • intelligence; neuroticism; epidemiology; Untied States

Current research shows that geo-political units (e.g., the 50 U.S. states) vary meaningfully on psychological dimensions like intelligence (IQ) and neuroticism (N). A new scientific discipline has also emerged, differential epidemiology, focused on how psychological variables affect health. We integrate these areas by reporting large correlations between aggregate-level IQ and N (measured for the 50 U.S. states) and state differences in rates of chronic disease (e.g., stroke, heart disease). Controlling for health-related behaviors (e.g., smoking, exercise) reduced but did not eliminate these effects. Strong relationships also existed between IQ, N, disease, and a host of other state-level variables (e.g., income, crime, education). The nexus of inter-correlated state variables could reflect a general fitness factor hypothesized by cognitive epidemiologists, although valid inferences about causality will require more research.`

Citation Information
Pesta, B.J., Bertsch, S., McDaniel, M.A., Mahoney, C.B., & Poznanski, P.J. (2012). Differential epidemiology: IQ, neuroticism, and chronic disease by the 50 U.S. states. Intelligence, 40, 107-114. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2012.01.011