Effect of environmental factors on intelligence quotient of children

July 5, 2021


A child’s intelligence quotient (IQ) is determined by both genetic and environmental factors that start from the prenatal period itself. There is a lack of data on the factors which influence IQ in Indian children; therefore, we conducted a multicenter questionnaire-based study to determine the environmental factors which influence IQ in Indian children.

Participants and Methods:

In this cross-sectional observational study, we recruited 1065 schoolchildren between the age of 12 and 16 years from 2 government and 13 private schools in 5 towns, 6 cities, and 2 villages across India. All the children were administered a questionnaire consisting of various environmental factors such as parents’ education, occupation, income, and the physical activity of the students. IQ scores were assessed using Ravens Standard Progressive Matrices. An approximate IQ score was calculated using the score on the Ravens test. IQ scores were divided into three groups: below normal IQ (0–79), normal IQ (80–119), and high IQ (above 120). The data were analyzed using SPSS software.


In this study, it was observed that the environmental factors such as place of residence, physical activity, family income, parental education, and occupation of the father had an impact on the IQ of the children. Children living in cities (P = 0.001), children having physical activity more than 5 h/weeks (P = 0.001), children with parents having a postgraduate or graduate level of education (P = 0.001), children whose father having a professional job (P = 0.001), and those with a higher family income (P = 0.001) were more likely to have high IQ.


In the present study, we found that various environmental factors such as place of residence, physical exercise, family income, parents’ occupation and education influence the IQ of a child to a great extent. Hence, a child must be provided with an optimal environment to be able to develop to his/her full genetic potential.