This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health Grants R01-MH/AA-49492, R01-AA/DA-09095, K05-MH-54150 (to K.S.K.), and K01-AA-00236 (to C.A.P.).
Age at First Drink and Risk for Alcoholism: A Noncausal Association
Article first published online: 30 MAY 2006
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 23, Issue 1, pages 101–107, January 1999
How to Cite
Prescott, C. A. and Kendler, K. S. (1999), Age at First Drink and Risk for Alcoholism: A Noncausal Association. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 23: 101–107. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1999.tb04029.x
The Virginia Twin Registry was founded by Walter Nance, M.D., and Linda Corey, Ph.D., in the Department of Human Genetics, Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University, and is supported by Grant NS-31564 (to L. Corey). Barbara Brooke, M.S.W., Sarah Burns, M.A., Frank Butera, M.S., and Lisa Halberstadt, M.S., supervised data collection. Steven Aggen, Ph.D., and Joanne Vivas provided technical assistance.
- Issue published online: 30 MAY 2006
- Article first published online: 30 MAY 2006
- Received for publication June 22. 1998; accepted September 14, 1998
- Alcohol Dependence;
- Alcohol Abuse;
Prior research indicates risk for alcoholism is increased among individuals who begin to drink at an early age. We replicate and extend these findings, addressing causal and noncausal explanations for this association. Structured psychiatric interviews, including assessment of lifetime DSM-IV alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence (AD), were conducted with 8746 adult twins ascertained through a population-based twin registry. We found strong evidence for an association between early drinking onset and risk for AD, but less evidence for an association with alcohol abuse. The results of twin-pair analyses suggest that all of the association between early drinking and later AD is due to familial sources, which probably reflect both shared environmental and genetic factors. These results suggest the association between drinking onset and diagnosis is noncausal, and attempts to prevent the development of AD by delaying drinking onset are unlikely to be successful.