A twin study of the effects of the Vietnam conflict on alcohol drinking patterns

J. Goldberg, S. A. Eisen, W. R. True, W. G. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This study examines the association between military service in Southeast Asia and alcohol drinking patterns in 2,169 male-male monozygotic twin pairs who both served on active military duty during the Vietnam era (1965-75). Data on alcohol drinking were collected in 1987 by mail and telephone interview. The alcohol drinking measures include three indicators of abstention (lifetime abstainer, lifetime non-regular drinker, and current abstainer) and two indicators of consumption (average daily ethanol consumption and high consumption). In adjusted and co-twin adjusted analyses, neither service in Southeast Asia nor combat exposure was significantly associated with any measure of abstention. In the co-twin adjusted analysis, there was no association of Southeast Asia service and combat exposure with average daily ethanol consumption. After adjustment for co-twin effects, 4.0 percent of non-Southeast Asia veterans were high consumers compared to 6.7 percent of Southeast Asia veterans who served in high combat. We conclude that prior military service in a war zone has a relatively modest long-term effect on the alcohol drinking patterns of male veterans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-574
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990


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