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SCIENCE High IQ linked to higher risk of psychological disorders Depression, Anxiety, ADHD & Autism (ASD)

Published 16 Jan 2018 11:23AM

Words by AC Speed | Senior Editor




A new peer-reviewed paper (published in the January 2018 issue of ScienceDirect) has shown that possessing a high intellect could be directly linked to several psychological disorders including Depression, Anxiety, ADHD and Autism. The study also suggests that an above average IQ could also have a large impact on physical health.

Tsien defines intelligence as, “the ability to self-discover knowledge and patterns from a world full of uncertainties and infinite possibilities,” whose mission it is to “solve various problems in their natural and social environments in order to survive and thrive”.



The highly intelligent individual has a remarkable capacity for seeing and internalizing these vast uncertainties, possibilities, and problems. This gift can either be a catalyst for empowerment and self-actualization or it can be a predictor of dysregulation and debilitation.


The study involved 3715 members of the American Mensa organization, 2213 that identified as male (60%), 1472 that identified as female (40%) (30 declined to provide a gender status). As a control, the study used national diagnosis data of the same conditions.

The following institutions are credited as being involved in this study: Department of Psychology, Pitzer College & Department of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Seattle Pacific University.



“Although the national surveys would likely capture a broad range of intelligence, statistically only 2% of the national data would include those with a gifted cognitive ability such those who qualify for membership in American Mensa, Ltd. For each diagnosis, data from the most recent year was used to compare to the 2015 data collected from Mensa.”

The comparative data was collected and compared to determine the diagnosis associated with several disorders compared to the national average.
The Results (Percentage of confirmed diagnosis)

*Mood Disorders - National average 9.5% High Intelligence 26.8%
*Anxiety Disorders - National average 10.9% High Intelligence 20%
*ADHA - National average 4.1% High Intelligence 7.4%
*ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder ) - National average 1% High Intelligence 1.2%
*Depressive disorders - National average 6.7% High Intelligence 25.8%

*all with 95% CI

Anxiety disorders in this study included generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

The study also found that high intelligence could also potentially be linked to almost double the risk associated with autoimmune disease.

Read the paper in full HERE://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2017.09.001












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