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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Intelligence, Personality and Health (MSc) (PSYL11077)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course aims to describe and evaluate research on the role that intelligence and personality traits may play in determining health.
Course description The aim of this course is to describe and evaluate research on the role that intelligence and personality traits may play in determining health across life. The objectives of the course are: to review research in the new field of cognitive epidemiology that shows that higher intelligence in youth is associated with a lower risk of premature death; to consider evidence on various pathways through which higher intelligence might be linked to lower mortality, namely via socio-economic advantage, improved disease or injury prevention, better disease or injury management, better mental health or 'body system integrity'; and to evaluate research on the links between major personality traits and specific health outcomes and consider by what means personality might influence health. Each session will include a lecture but time will also be set aside for discussion of issues raised in the lecture and course reading.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  20
Course Start Block 1 (Sem 1)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 88 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 3000 word essay
Feedback Students are invited to see Course Organiser individually to discuss essay plans. There will be a discussion of a selected paper during each lecture. Feedback will be given by peers and lecturer.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate understanding of some basic epidemiological concepts, such as causation and confounding
  2. describe and appraise current evidence linking intelligence and risk of specific health outcomes
  3. describe and appraise current evidence linking major personality traits and risk of specific health outcomes
  4. evaluate some hypothesised mechanisms underlying these findings, drawing on relevant evidence
Reading List
Week 1: Introduction to cognitive epidemiology. Intelligence as a predictor of death

Essential reading

Batty GD, Wennerstad KM et al. (2009) IQ in early adulthood and mortality by middle age: cohort study of 1 million Swedish men. Epidemiology 20:100-109.

Batty GD, Der G, MacIntyre S, Deary IJ.(2006) Does IQ explain socioeconomic inequalities in health? Evidence from a population based cohort study in the west of Scotland. BMJ.332:580-4.

Calvin CM, Deary IJ, Fenton C, Roberts B, Der G, Leckenby N, Batty GD. (2011) Intelligence in youth and all-cause mortality: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Int J Epidemiol 40:626-644.

Cukic I, Brett CE, Calvin CM, Batty GD, Deary (2017) Childhood IQ and survival to 79: follow-up of 94% of the Scottish Mental Survey 1947. Intelligence 63:45-50.

Recommended reading

Batty GD, Deary IJ, Gottfredson LS. Premorbid (early life) IQ and Later Mortality Risk: Systematic Review. (2007) Ann Epidemiol. 17:278-88

Gottfredson L. (2004) Intelligence: is it the epidemiologists' elusive "fundamental cause" of social class inequalities in health? J Pers Soc Psychol 86:174-99.

Jokela M, Low Childhood IQ and Early Adult Mortality: The Role of Explanatory Factors in the 1958 British Birth Cohort. (2009) Pediatrics 124:e380.

Martin LT, Kubzansky LD. (2005) Childhood cognitive performance and risk of mortality: a prospective cohort study of gifted individuals. Am J Epidemiol 162:887-90.

Murray C, Pattie C, Starr J, Deary IJ. (2012) Does cognitive ability predict mortality in the ninth decade? Intelligence 40:490-98.

Ritchie S. Intelligence: all that matters. (2015) Hodder & Stoughton

Week 2: Intelligence and physical health

Essential reading

Batty GD, Gale CR, Tynelius P, Deary IJ, Rasmussen F. (2009) IQ in early adulthood, socioeconomic position, and unintentional injury mortality by middle age: a cohort study of more than 1 million Swedish men. Am J Epidemiol 169:606-15.

Calvin CM, Batty GD, Der G, Brett CE, Taylor A, Pattie A, Cukic I, Deary IJ. (2017) Childhood intelligence in relation to major causes of death in 68 year follow-up: prospective population study. BMI 357 j2708

Lawlor DA, Batty GD, Clark H, McIntyre S, Leon DA. (2008) Association of childhood intelligence with risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: findings from the Aberdeen Children of the 1950s cohort study. Eur J Epidemiol 23:695-706

Lundin A, Sörberg Wallin A, Falkstedt D, Allebeck P, Hemmingsson T. (2015) Intelligence and Disability Pension in Swedish Men and Women Followed from Childhood to Late Middle Age. 10:e0128834.

Wraw C, Deary IJ, Gale CR, Der G. (2015) Intelligence in youth and health at age 50. Intelligence, 53, 23-32

Recommended reading

Batty GD, Deary IJ, Schoon I, Gale CR. (2007) Childhood mental ability in relation to food intake and physical activity in adulthood: the 1970 British Cohort Study. Pediatrics. 119:38-45.

Batty GD, Deary IJ, Schoon I, Gale CR. (2007) Mental ability across childhood in relation to risk factors for premature mortality in adult life: the 1970 British Cohort Study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 61:997-1003.

Belsky DW, Caspi A, Goldman-Mellor S, Meier MH, Ramrakha S, Poulton R, Moffitt TE. (2013) Is obesity associated with a decline in intelligence quotient during the first half of the life course? Am J Epidemiol.178:1461-8

Christensen GT, Mortensen EL, Christensen K, Osler M (2016). Intelligence in young adulthood and cause-specific mortality in the Danish Conscription Database ¿ a cohort study of 728,160 men. Intelligence 59:64-71.

Henderson M, Richards M, Stansfeld S, Hotopf M. (2012) The association between childhood cognitive ability and adult long-term sickness absence in three British birth cohorts: a cohort study. BMJ Open. 2:e000777.

Mõttus R, Johnson W, Murray C, Wolf MS, Starr JM, Deary IJ. (2014) Towards understanding the links between health literacy and physical health. Health Psychol 33:164-73.

Week 3: Intelligence and mental health

Essential reading

Dickson H, Laurens KR, Cullen AE, Hodgins S.(2012) Meta-analyses of cognitive and motor function in youth aged 16 years and younger who subsequently develop schizophrenia. Psychol Med. 42:743-55

Gale CR, Hatch SL, Batty GD, Deary IJ. (2009) Intelligence in childhood and risk of psychological distress in adulthood: The 1958 National Child Development Survey and the 1970 British Cohort Study Intelligence 37:592¿599

Koenen KC, Moffitt TE, Roberts AL, Martin LT, Kubzansky L, Harrington H, Poulton R, Caspi A. (2009) Childhood IQ and adult mental disorders: a test of the cognitive reserve hypothesis. Am J Psychiatry 166:50-57

Schaefer JD, Caspi A, Belsky DW, Harrington H, Houts R, Israel S, Levine ME, Sugden K, Williams B, Poulton R, Moffitt TE. Early-life intelligence predicts midlife biological age. (2016) J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 71:968-977

Sörberg A, Allebeck P, Melin B, Gunnell D, Hemmingsson T (2013). Cognitive ability in early adulthood is associated with later suicide and suicide attempt: the role of risk factors over the life course. Psychol Med.43:49-60.

Recommended reading

Gale CR, Batty GD, Tynelius P, Deary IJ, Rasmussen F (2010) Intelligence in early adulthood and subsequent hospitalization for mental disorders. Epidemiology 21:70-77.

Hagenaars S et al. Shared genetic aetiology between cognitive functions and physical and mental health in UK Biobank (N=112¿151) and 24 GWAS consortia (2016) Mol Psychiatry. 21:1624-1632.

Smith D, Anderson J, Zammit S, Meyer T, Pell J, Mackay D (2015). Childhood IQ and risk of bipolar disorder in adulthood. Br J Psychiatry Open 1 (1) 74-80; DOI: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.000455.

Weeks 4 & 5: Personality, disease and mortality

Essential reading

Deary IJ, Weiss A, Batty GD. (2010) Intelligence and personality as predictors of illness and death; how researchers in differential psychology and chronic disease epidemiology are collaborating to understand and address health inequalities. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 11:53-79. (This paper is relevant for weeks 1-3 as well).

Gale CR, Cukic I, Batty GD, Macintosh AM, Weiss A, Deary IJ. (2017) When is neuroticism protective against death? Findings from UK Biobank. Psych Science 8:1345-1357.

Hakulinen, C, Elovainio M, Pulkki-Raback L, Virtanen M, Kivimaki M, Jokela M. (2015) Personality and depressive symptoms: individual participant meta-analysis of 10 cohort studies. Depression & Anxiety 32:461¿470.

Lahey BB (2009) Public health significance of neuroticism. American Psychologist 64:241-256.

Matthews G, Deary IJ, Whiteman MC (2009). Traits and health in: Personality traits.3rd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp301-322. (PLEASE SCAN CHAPTER)

Stephan Y, Sutin AR, Luchetti M, Terracciano A. (2016). Allostatic load and personality: a 4-year longitudinal study. Psychosom Med 78, 302-10.

Watson D, Hubbard B. (1996) Adaptational Style and Dispositional Structure: Coping in the Context of the Five-Factor Model. J Personality;64:737-74

Weiss A, Sutin AR, Duberstein PR, Friedman B, Bagby RM, Costa PT Jr. (2009) The personality domains and styles of the five-factor model are related to incident depression in Medicare recipients aged 65 to 100. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry.17:591-601.

Recommended reading

Bogg T, Roberts BW (2013) The case for conscientiousness: evidence and implications for a personality trait marker of health and longevity. Ann Behav Med 45;278-88.

Carver CS, Connor-Smith J. (2010) Personality and coping. Ann Rev Psychology 61, 679-704.

Chapman BP, Fiscella K, Kawachi I, Duberstein PR. (2010). Personality, socioeconomic status, and all-cause mortality in the United States. Am J Epidemiol, 171:83-92.

Friedman HS (2000) Long-term relations of personality and health: dynamisms, mechanisms, tropisms. J Pers 68:1089-1107

Hampson SE, Goldberg LR, Vogt TM, Dubanoski JP. (2007) Mechanisms by which childhood personality traits influence adult health status: Educational attainment and healthy behaviours Health Psychol 26: 121-125

Martin LR, Friedman HS, Schwartz JE (2007) Personality and mortality risk across the life span: the importance of conscientiousness as a biopsychosocial attribute. Health Psychol 26:428-36.

Mottus R, McNeill G, Jia X, Craig LCA, Starr JM, Deary IJ. (2013) The Associations Between Personality, Diet and Body Mass Index in Older People. Health Psychol 32:353-60

Weston S, Jackson J. (2015) Identification of the healthy neurotic: personality traits predict smoking after disease onset. J Res Personality 54:61-9.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Participants will gain understanding and overview of the field of cognitive and personality epidemiology.
Additional Class Delivery Information Attend all lectures as scheduled
Keywordsindividual differences,health
Course organiserDr Catharine Gale
Tel: (0131 6)50 3348
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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