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Keywords:

  • Family History;
  • Alcohol Dependence;
  • Alcoholism

The effects of various levels of positive family history of alcoholism on the probability of past year alcohol dependence were investigated using a general population sample of 23,152 drinkers 18 years of age and older. Forty percent reported a positive family history. After adjustment for age, race, gender, and poverty and compared with persons with a negative family history, the odds of alcohol dependence were increased by 45% among persons with alcoholism in second or third degree relatives only, by 86% among those with alcoholism in first degree relatives only, and by 167% among those with alcoholism in first and second or third degree relatives. The effects of family history did not vary among population subgroups as defined by age, race, gender, and poverty.