People with high IQs drink more alcohol, although they are unlikely to be heavy drinkers, new research finds.
In other words, they drink more, on average, but spread it out, and are unlikely to be alcoholics.
The results fit with the fact that highly intelligent people are also more likely to use drugs.
It could be because the intelligent tend to be easily bored.
The conclusions come from a large study of the links between IQ and health habits.
Higher IQs are generally linked to healthier habits.
People with higher IQs are likely to be fitter, as they do more exercise and strength training.
Higher intelligence was also linked to better oral hygiene, consuming fewer sugary drinks and reading the nutritional information on food labels.
The study included 5,347 American men and women.
They were first surveyed in their early 20s and followed up in middle-age.
The results provide an interesting picture of the way healthy and unhealthy habits are linked to intelligence.
The intelligent were found to be more likely to skip meals and snack in between.
Drinking and smoking both have an unusual relationship because both high intelligence and low intelligence is linked to drinking more and smoking fewer cigarettes.
People of average intelligence tend to drink less or possibly be teetotal — however, they are likely to smoke more cigarettes.
The study’s authors conclude that they have…
“…found evidence of links between higher IQ and a number of more favourable health related habits (i.e. engaging in physical activity, nutritional literacy, and oral hygiene habits, as well as not smoking, binge dinking, or consuming sugary drinks),[…]
These findings, support the notion that certain health behaviours may lie on a pathway that links intelligence in early life with various health outcomes in adulthood.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Intelligence (Wraw et al., 2018).