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Genetic and Environmental Factors in Alcohol Abuse and Antisocial Personality

Remi J. Cadoret, ED Troughton, Thomas W. O’Gorman

Previous analyses of adoptees from Lutheran Social Services of Iowa developed a multifactorial model of adoptee alcohol abuse that related abuse to three factors: biologic background of alcohol-related problems, biologic background of antisocial problems and exposure to an adoptive family where family members had alcohol-related problems. The present study examines an independently collected sample of adoptees from a different agency-the Iowa Children’s and Family Services, and confirms the multifactorial model previously found in the Lutheran Social Service data. The model shows a specificity of type of inheritance and type of environmental influence: biologic family alcohol-related problems predict increased alcohol abuse in adoptee, biologic family antisocial behaviors predict increased antisocial personality diagnoses in adoptee, and environmental factors of alcohol-related problems in the adoptive family predict increased adoptee alcohol abuse.