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Alcohol Dependence and Reproductive Timing in African and European Ancestry Women: Findings in a Midwestern Twin Cohort

Mary Waldron, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Pamela A. F. Madden, Alexis E. Duncan, Carolyn E. Sartor, Andrew C. Heath

Objective: We examined associations between reproductive onset and history of alcohol dependence (AD) in 475 African ancestry (AA) and 2,865 European or other ancestry (EA) female twins. Method: Participants were drawn from a U.S. midwestern birth cohort study of like-sex female twin pairs born between 1975 and 1985, ages 2132 as of last completed assessment. Cox proportional hazards regression models were estimated predicting age at first childbirth from history of AD, separately by race/ethnicity, without and with adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, body mass index, history of other substance involvement, psychopathology, and family and childhood risks. Results: Among EA twins, AD predicted early childbearing through age 17 and delayed childbearing from age 25 onward; in adjusted models, AD was associated with overall delayed childbearing. Among AA twins, reproductive timing and AD were not significantly related in either unadjusted or adjusted models. Conclusions: Findings for twins of European ancestry are consistent with well-documented links between early alcohol mis/use and teenage parenting as well as delays in childbearing associated with drinking-related reproductive and relationship difficulties. Extension of analyses to other racial/ethnic groups of sufficient sample size remains important. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 75, 235240, 2014)