Objective To investigate the association between intelligence and disability pension due to mental, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and substance-use disorders among men and women, and to assess the role of childhood social factors and adulthood work characteristics. Methods Two random samples of men and women born 1948 and 1953 (n = 10 563 and 9 434), and tested for general intelligence at age 13, were followed in registers for disability pension until 2009. Physical and psychological strains in adulthood were assessed using job exposure matrices. Associations were examined using Cox proportional hazard regression models, with increases in rates reported as hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) per decrease in stanine intelligence. Results In both men and women increased risks were found for disability pension due to all causes, musculoskeletal disorder, mental disorder other than substance use, and cardiovascular disease as intelligence decreased. Increased risk was also found for substance use disorder in men. In multivariate models, HRs were attenuated after controlling for pre-school plans in adolescence, and low job control and high physical strain in adulthood. In the fully adjusted model, increased HRs remained for all causes (male HR 1.11, 95% CI 1.07-1.15, female HR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02-1.09) and musculoskeletal disorder (male HR 1.16, 95% CI 1.09-1.24, female HR 1.08, 95% CI 1.03-1.14) during 1986 to 2009. Conclusion Relatively low childhood intelligence is associated with increased risk of disability pension due to musculoskeletal disorder in both men and women, even after adjustment for risk factors for disability pension measured over the life course.
2015. Vol. 10, no 6, 0128834