Does education lower allostatic load? A co-twin control study

Nayla R. Hamdi, Susan C. South, Robert F. Krueger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Many studies have found that education is associated with better health, but the causal basis of this association is unclear. The current study used a co-twin control design to examine if differences in years of education within twin pairs predict allostatic load. The strength of this design is that it controls for genetic and other familial confounds shared between twins. The sample consisted of 381 twins (with 292 twins from 146 complete pairs; mean age = 57; 61% female) who participated in the biomarker project of the Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) study. Individual-level analyses showed a significant, negative association between years of education and allostatic load, but this association was explained entirely by familial influences shared between twins. The results of this study suggest that schooling does not itself protect against allostatic load.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-229
Number of pages9
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The MIDUS study was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development and by the National Institute on Aging Grant AG20166 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Allostatic load
  • Co-twin control
  • Discordant twin
  • Education
  • Health


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