Personality and the genetic risk for alcohol dependence

Wendy S. Slutske, Andrew C. Heath, Pamela A.F. Madden, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Dixie J. Statham, Nicholas G. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations

Abstract

The extent to which the genetic risk for alcohol dependence (AD) and conduct disorder (CD) and their common genetic risk overlap with genetic factors contributing to variation in dimensions of personality was examined in a study of 6,453 individuals from 3,383 adult male and female same-sex and unlike-sex twin pairs from the Australian Twin Registry. The associations between the personality dimensions of positive emotionality, negative emotionality, and AD and CD risk were modest, whereas the associations between behavioral undercontrol and AD and CD risk were substantially higher. Genetic influences contributing to variation in behavioral undercontrol accounted for about 40% of the genetic variation in AD and CD risk and about 90% of the common genetic risk for AD and CD. These results suggest that genetic factors contributing to variation in dimensions of personality, particularly behavioral undercontrol, account for a substantial proportion of the genetic diathesis for AD and most of the common genetic diathesis for AD and CD among both men and women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-133
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume111
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

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