Skip to main content Accessibility help

Cross-Cultural Comparison of Genetic and Cultural Transmission of Smoking Initiation Using an Extended Twin Kinship Model

  • Hermine H. Maes (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Kate Morley (a5) (a6), Michael C. Neale (a1) (a4), Kenneth S. Kendler (a1) (a4), Andrew C. Heath (a7), Lindon J. Eaves (a1) (a4) and Nicholas G. Martin (a5)...


Background: Considerable evidence from twin and adoption studies indicates that genetic and shared environmental factors play a role in the initiation of smoking behavior. Although twin and adoption designs are powerful to detect genetic and environmental influences, they do not provide information on the processes of assortative mating and parent–offspring transmission and their contribution to the variability explained by genetic and/or environmental factors. Methods: We examined the role of genetic and environmental factors in individual differences for smoking initiation (SI) using an extended kinship design. This design allows the simultaneous testing of additive and non-additive genetic, shared and individual-specific environmental factors, as well as sex differences in the expression of genes and environment in the presence of assortative mating and combined genetic and cultural transmission, while also estimating the regression of the prevalence of SI on age. A dichotomous lifetime ‘ever’ smoking measure was obtained from twins and relatives in the ‘Virginia 30,000’ sample and the ‘Australian 25,000’. Results: Results demonstrate that both genetic and environmental factors play a significant role in the liability to SI. Major influences on individual differences appeared to be additive genetic and unique environmental effects, with smaller contributions from assortative mating, shared sibling environment, twin environment, cultural transmission, and resulting genotype-environment covariance. Age regression of the prevalence of SI was significant. The finding of negative cultural transmission without dominance led us to investigate more closely two possible mechanisms for the lower parent–offspring correlations compared to the sibling and DZ twin correlations in subsets of the data: (1) age × gene interaction, and (2) social homogamy. Neither of the mechanism provided a significantly better explanation of the data. Conclusions: This study showed significant heritability, partly due to assortment, and significant effects of primarily non-parental shared environment on liability to SI.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Cross-Cultural Comparison of Genetic and Cultural Transmission of Smoking Initiation Using an Extended Twin Kinship Model
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Cross-Cultural Comparison of Genetic and Cultural Transmission of Smoking Initiation Using an Extended Twin Kinship Model
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Cross-Cultural Comparison of Genetic and Cultural Transmission of Smoking Initiation Using an Extended Twin Kinship Model
      Available formats


Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Dr. Hermine H. Maes, Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, PO Box 980033, Richmond, VA 23298-0033, USA. E-mail:


Hide All
Andersen, M. R., Leroux, B. G., Bricker, J. B., Rajan, K. B., & Peterson, A. V. Jr. (2004). Antismoking parenting practices are associated with reduced rates of adolescent smoking. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 158, 348352.
Boker, S., Neale, M. C., Maes, H. H., Wilde, M., Spiegel, M., Brick, T., . . . Fox, J. (2010). OpenMx: An open source extended structural equation modeling framework. Psychometrika, 76, 306317.
Boomsma, D. I., Koopmans, J. R., Van Doornen, L. J., & Orlebeke, J. F. (1994). Genetic and social influences of starting to smoke: A study of Dutch adolescent twins and their parents. Addiction, 89, 219226.
Bricker, J. B., Rajan, K. B., Andersen, M. R., & Peterson, A. V. Jr. (2005). Does parental smoking cessation encourage their young adult children to quit smoking? A prospective study. Addiction, 100, 379386.
de Vries, H., Engels, R., Kremers, S., Wetzels, J., & Mudde, A. (2003). Parents’ and friends’ smoking status as predictors of smoking onset: Findings from six European countries. Health Education Research, 18, 627636.
den Exter Blokland, E. A., Engels, R. C., Hale, W. W., Meeus, W., & Willemsen, M. C. (2004). Lifetime parental smoking history and cessation and early adolescent smoking behavior. Preventive Medicine, 38, 359368.
Eaves, L. J., & Eysenck, H. J. (1980). The causes and effects of smoking. London, UK: Maurice Temple Smith.
Eaves, L. J., Eysenck, H. J., & Martin, N. G. (1989). Genes, culture and personality: An empirical approach. London, UK: Oxford University Press.
Eaves, L. J., Heath, A. C., Martin, N. G., Neale, M. C., Meyer, J. M., Silberg, J. L., . . . Walters, E. (1999). Comparing the biological and cultural inheritance of stature and conservatism in the kinships of monozygotic and dizygotic twins. In Cloninger, C. R. (Ed.), Proceedings of 1994 APPA Conference (pp. 269308). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.
Eaves, L. J., Last, K. A., Young, P. A., & Martin, N. G. (1978). Model-fitting approaches to the analysis of human behaviour. Heredity, 41, 249320.
Eaves, L. J., Last, K., Martin, N. G., & Jinks, J. L. (1977). A progressive approach to non-additivity and genotype-environmental covariance in the analysis of human differences. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 30, 142.
Fulker, D. W. (1988). Genetic and cultural transmission in human behavior. In Weir, S. B., Eisen, E. J., Goodman, M. M., & Namkoong, G. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Quantitative Genetics (pp. 318340). Sunderland, MA: Sinaver Associates.
Heath, A. C., Cates, R., Martin, N. G., Meyer, J., Hewitt, J. K., Neale, M. C., & Eaves, L. J. (1993). Genetic contribution to risk of smoking initiation: Comparisons across birth cohorts and across cultures. Journal of Substance Abuse, 5, 221246.
Heath, A. C., & Eaves, L. J. (1985). Resolving the effects of phenotype and social background on mate selection. Behavior Genetics, 15, 1530.
Heath, A. C., Kendler, K. S., Eaves, L. J., & Markell, D. (1985). The resolution of cultural and biological inheritance: Informativeness of different relationships. Behavior Genetics, 15, 439465.
Heath, A. C., Madden, P. A., & Martin, N. G. (1998). Statistical methods in genetic research on smoking. Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 7, 165186.
Heath, A. C., & Martin, N.G. (1994). Genetic influences on alcohol consumption patterns and problem drinking: results from the Australian NH&MRC twin panel follow-up survey. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 708: 7285.
Jardine, R., Martin, N. G., & Henderson, A. S. (1984). Genetic covariation between neuroticism and the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Genetic Epidemiology, 1, 89107.
Kaprio, J. (2009). Genetic epidemiology of smoking behavior and nicotine dependence. Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 6, 304306.
Kaprio, J., Boomsma, D. I., Heikkilä, K., Koskenvuo, M., Romanov, K., Rose, R. J., . . . Winter, T. (1995). Genetic variation in behavioral risk factors for atherosclerosis: Twin-family study of smoking and cynical hostility. In Woodford, F. P., Davignon, J. & Sniderman, A. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Atherosclerosis, Montreal, 1994. Vol. 1066 (pp. 63637). New York, NY: Elsevier.
Kendler, K. S., Karkowski, L. M., & Pedersen, N. C. (2000). Tobacco consumption in Swedish twins reared-apart and reared-together. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57, 886892.
Lake, R. I. E., Eaves, L. J., Maes, H. H. M., Heath, A. C., & Martin, N. G. (2000). Further evidence against the environmental transmission of individual differences in neuroticism from a collaborative study of 45,850 twins and relatives on two continents. Behavior Genetics, 30, 223233.
Li, C., Pentz, M. A., & Chou, C. P. (2002). Parental substance use as a modifier of adolescent substance use risk. Addiction, 97, 15371550.
Li, M. D. (2003). The genetics of smoking related behavior: A brief review. American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 326, 168173.
Little, R. J. A., & Rubin, D. B. (1987). Statistical analysis with missing data. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Madden, P. A., Pedersen, N. L., Kaprio, J., Koskenvuo, M. J., & Martin, N. G. (2004). The epidemiology and genetics of smoking initiation and persistence: Cross-cultural comparisons of twin study results. Twin Research, 7, 8297.
Maes, H. H., & Neale, M. C. (2009). Genetic modeling of tobacco use behavior and trajectories. In Swan, G., Baker, T., Chassin, I., Conti, D., Lerman, C. & Perkins, K. (Eds.), NCI tobacco control monograph series 20: Phenotypes and endophenotypes: Foundations for genetic studies of nicotine use and dependence. Bethseda, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.
Maes, H. H., Neale, M. C., Kendler, K. S., Martin, N. G., Heath, A. C., & Eaves, L. J. (2006). Genetic and cultural transmission of smoking initiation. An extended twin kinship model. Behavior Genetics, 36, 795808.
Maes, H. H., Neale, M. C., Martin, N. G., Heath, A. C., & Eaves, L. J. (1999). Religious attendance and frequency of alcohol use: Same genes or same environments: A bivariate extended twin kinship model. Twin Research, 2, 169179.
Maes, H. H., Prom-Wormley, E., Eaves, L. J., Rhee, S. H., Hewitt, J. K., Young, S., Corley, R., McGue, M., Iacono, W. G., Legrand, L., Samek, D. R., Murrelle, E. L., Silberg, J. L., Miles, D. R., Schieken, R. M., Beunen, G. P., Thomis, M., Rose, R. J., Dick, D. M., Boomsma, D. I., Bartels, M., Vink, J. M., Lichtenstein, P., White, V., Kaprio, J., & Neale, M. C. (2017). A Genetic Epidemiological Mega Analysis of Smoking Initiation in Adolescents. Nicotine Tob Res, 19: 401409.
Martin, N. G., Eaves, L. J., Kearsey, M. J., & Davies, P. (1978). The power of the classical twin study. Heredity, 40, 97116.
Martin, N. G., & Martin, P. G. (1975). The inheritance of scholastic abilities in a sample of twins. I. Ascertainment of the sample and diagnosis of zygosity. Annals of Human Genetics, 39, 213218.
Muthén, B., Kaplan, D., & Hollis, M. (1987). On structural equation modeling with data that are not missing completely at random. Psychometrika, 52, 431462.
Neale, M. C., Boker, S. M., Xie, G., & Maes, H. H. (2006). Mx: Statistical modeling (7th ed.). Richmond, VA: Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University.
Neale, M. C., & Cardon, L. R. (1992). Methodology for genetic studies of twins and families. Dortrecht, Germany: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Neale, M. C., & Eaves, L. J. (1993). Estimating and controlling for the effects of volunteer bias with pairs of relatives. Behavior Genetics, 23, 271277.
Neale, M. C., Hunter, M. D., Pritikin, J. N., Zahery, M., Brick, T. R., Kirkpatrick, R. M., . . . Boker, S. M. (2017). OpenMx 2.0: Extended structural equation and statistical modeling. Psychometrika, 81, 535549.
Neale, M. C., & Miller, M. B. (1997). The use of likelihood-based confidence intervals in genetic models. Behavior Genetics, 27, 113120.
Ooki, S., Yamada, K., Asaka, A., & Hayakawa, K. (1990). Zygosity diagnosis of twins by questionnaire. Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae (Roma), 39, 109115.
Peterson, A. V. Jr., Leroux, B. G., Bricker, J., Kealey, K. A., Marek, P. M., Sarason, I. G., & Andersen, M. R. (2005). Nine-year prediction of adolescent smoking by number of smoking parents. Addictive Behaviors, 31, 788801
Prescott, C. A., Maes, H. H., & Kendler, K. S. (2005). Genetics of substance use disorders. In Kendler, K. S. & Eaves, L. J. (Eds.), Psychiatric genetics. (pp. 167196). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Price, R. A., & Vandenberg, S. G. (1980). Spouse similarity in American and Swedish couples. Behavior Genetics, 10, 5971.
Rose, R. J., Viken, R. J., Dick, D. M., Bates, J. E., Pulkkinen, L., & Kaprio, J. (2003). It does take a village: Nonfamilial environments and children's behavior. Psychological Science, 14, 273277
Scollo, M. M., & Winstanley, M. H. (2015). Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne, Australia: Cancer Council Victoria.
Shakib, S., Mouttapa, M., Johnson, C. A., Ritt-Olson, A., Trinidad, D. R., Gallaher, P. E., & Unger, J. B. (2003). Ethnic variation in parenting characteristics and adolescent smoking. Journal of Adolescent Health, 33, 8897.
Simons-Morton, B., Chen, R., Abroms, L., & Haynie, D. L. (2004). Latent growth curve analyses of peer and parent influences on smoking progression among early adolescents. Health Psychology, 23, 612621.
Sullivan, P. F., & Kendler, K. S. (1997). The genetic epidemiology of smoking. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 1, S51S57.
Truett, K. R., Eaves, L. J., Walters, E. E., Heath, A. C., Hewitt, J. K., Meyer, J. M., . . . Kendler, K. S. (1994). A model system for analysis of family resemblance in extended kinships of twins. Behavior Genetics, 24, 3549.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). How tobacco smoke causes disease: The biology and behavioral basis for smoking-attributable disease: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.
Verhulst, B., Eaves, L. J., & Neale, M. C. (2014). Moderating the covariance between family member's substance use behavior. Behavior Genetics, 44, 337346.
Vink, J. M., Willemsen, G., & Boomsma, D. I. (2003). The association of current smoking behavior with the smoking behavior of parents, siblings, friends and spouses. Addiction, 98, 923931.
Vink, J. M., Willemsen, G., Engels, R. C., & Boomsma, D. I. (2003). Smoking status of parents, siblings and friends: Predictors of regular smoking? Findings from a longitudinal twin-family study. Twin Research, 6, 209217.
Vitaro, F., Wannera, B., Brendgena, M., Gosselinb, C., & Gendreaua, P. L. (2004). Differential contribution of parents and friends to smoking trajectories during adolescence. Addictive Behaviors, 29, 831835
World Health Organization. (2018). Tobacco fact sheet. Retrieved from



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed