Abstract

Parental socioeconomic status (SES) is a strong predictor of children's educational achievement (EA), with an increasing effect throughout development. Inequality in educational outcomes between children from different SES backgrounds exists in all Western countries. It has been proposed that a cause of this inequality lies in the interplay between genetic effects and SES on EA, which might depend on society and the equality of the education system. This study adopted two approaches, a classical twin design and polygenic score (PGS) approach, to address the effect of parental SES on EA in a large sample of 12-year-old Dutch twin pairs (2479 MZ and 4450 DZ twin pairs with PGSs for educational attainment available in 2335 children) from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR). The findings of this study indicated that average EA increased with increasing parental SES. The difference in EA between boys and girls became smaller in the higher SES groups. The classical twin design analyses based on genetic covariance structure modeling pointed to lower genetic, environmental, and thus phenotypic variation in EA at higher SES. Independent from a child's PGS, parental SES predicted EA. However, the strength of the association between PGS and EA did not depend on parental SES. In a within-family design, the twin with a higher PGS scored higher on EA than the co-twin, demonstrating that the effect of the PGS on EA was at least partly independent from parental SES. To conclude, EA depended on SES both directly and indirectly, and SES moderated the additive genetic and environmental components of EA. Adding information from PGS, in addition to parental SES, improved the prediction of children's EA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13
Journalnpj Science of Learning 2018 3:1
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Fingerprint

Educational Status
Social Class
Netherlands
Genetic Structures

Cite this

@article{b03b502cb55d42a783b9ff6ce1e1c7b2,
title = "The moderating role of SES on genetic differences in educational achievement in the Netherlands",
abstract = "Parental socioeconomic status (SES) is a strong predictor of children's educational achievement (EA), with an increasing effect throughout development. Inequality in educational outcomes between children from different SES backgrounds exists in all Western countries. It has been proposed that a cause of this inequality lies in the interplay between genetic effects and SES on EA, which might depend on society and the equality of the education system. This study adopted two approaches, a classical twin design and polygenic score (PGS) approach, to address the effect of parental SES on EA in a large sample of 12-year-old Dutch twin pairs (2479 MZ and 4450 DZ twin pairs with PGSs for educational attainment available in 2335 children) from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR). The findings of this study indicated that average EA increased with increasing parental SES. The difference in EA between boys and girls became smaller in the higher SES groups. The classical twin design analyses based on genetic covariance structure modeling pointed to lower genetic, environmental, and thus phenotypic variation in EA at higher SES. Independent from a child's PGS, parental SES predicted EA. However, the strength of the association between PGS and EA did not depend on parental SES. In a within-family design, the twin with a higher PGS scored higher on EA than the co-twin, demonstrating that the effect of the PGS on EA was at least partly independent from parental SES. To conclude, EA depended on SES both directly and indirectly, and SES moderated the additive genetic and environmental components of EA. Adding information from PGS, in addition to parental SES, improved the prediction of children's EA.",
author = "{de Zeeuw}, {Eveline L} and Kees-Jan Kan and {van Beijsterveldt}, {Catharina E M} and Hamdi Mbarek and Jouke-Jan Hottenga and Davies, {Gareth E} and Neale, {Michael C} and Dolan, {Conor V} and Boomsma, {Dorret I}",
year = "2019",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1038/s41539-019-0052-2",
language = "English",
volume = "4",
pages = "13",
journal = "npj Science of Learning 2018 3:1",
issn = "2056-7936",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The moderating role of SES on genetic differences in educational achievement in the Netherlands

AU - de Zeeuw, Eveline L

AU - Kan, Kees-Jan

AU - van Beijsterveldt, Catharina E M

AU - Mbarek, Hamdi

AU - Hottenga, Jouke-Jan

AU - Davies, Gareth E

AU - Neale, Michael C

AU - Dolan, Conor V

AU - Boomsma, Dorret I

PY - 2019/9

Y1 - 2019/9

N2 - Parental socioeconomic status (SES) is a strong predictor of children's educational achievement (EA), with an increasing effect throughout development. Inequality in educational outcomes between children from different SES backgrounds exists in all Western countries. It has been proposed that a cause of this inequality lies in the interplay between genetic effects and SES on EA, which might depend on society and the equality of the education system. This study adopted two approaches, a classical twin design and polygenic score (PGS) approach, to address the effect of parental SES on EA in a large sample of 12-year-old Dutch twin pairs (2479 MZ and 4450 DZ twin pairs with PGSs for educational attainment available in 2335 children) from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR). The findings of this study indicated that average EA increased with increasing parental SES. The difference in EA between boys and girls became smaller in the higher SES groups. The classical twin design analyses based on genetic covariance structure modeling pointed to lower genetic, environmental, and thus phenotypic variation in EA at higher SES. Independent from a child's PGS, parental SES predicted EA. However, the strength of the association between PGS and EA did not depend on parental SES. In a within-family design, the twin with a higher PGS scored higher on EA than the co-twin, demonstrating that the effect of the PGS on EA was at least partly independent from parental SES. To conclude, EA depended on SES both directly and indirectly, and SES moderated the additive genetic and environmental components of EA. Adding information from PGS, in addition to parental SES, improved the prediction of children's EA.

AB - Parental socioeconomic status (SES) is a strong predictor of children's educational achievement (EA), with an increasing effect throughout development. Inequality in educational outcomes between children from different SES backgrounds exists in all Western countries. It has been proposed that a cause of this inequality lies in the interplay between genetic effects and SES on EA, which might depend on society and the equality of the education system. This study adopted two approaches, a classical twin design and polygenic score (PGS) approach, to address the effect of parental SES on EA in a large sample of 12-year-old Dutch twin pairs (2479 MZ and 4450 DZ twin pairs with PGSs for educational attainment available in 2335 children) from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR). The findings of this study indicated that average EA increased with increasing parental SES. The difference in EA between boys and girls became smaller in the higher SES groups. The classical twin design analyses based on genetic covariance structure modeling pointed to lower genetic, environmental, and thus phenotypic variation in EA at higher SES. Independent from a child's PGS, parental SES predicted EA. However, the strength of the association between PGS and EA did not depend on parental SES. In a within-family design, the twin with a higher PGS scored higher on EA than the co-twin, demonstrating that the effect of the PGS on EA was at least partly independent from parental SES. To conclude, EA depended on SES both directly and indirectly, and SES moderated the additive genetic and environmental components of EA. Adding information from PGS, in addition to parental SES, improved the prediction of children's EA.

U2 - 10.1038/s41539-019-0052-2

DO - 10.1038/s41539-019-0052-2

M3 - Article

VL - 4

SP - 13

JO - npj Science of Learning 2018 3:1

JF - npj Science of Learning 2018 3:1

SN - 2056-7936

ER -