Alcohol Dependence and Criminal Behavior: Preliminary Results of an Association Study of Environmental and Genetic Factors in an Italian Male Population



The aim of this study is to propose an innovative approach evaluating the connection between alcohol use disorders and criminal behavior. The research, structured as a case–control study, was based on the analysis of environmental (social variables) and genetic factors (single nucleotide polymorphisms of glutamic acid decarboxylase) in a population (N = 173) of Italian alcohol-dependent men. Group 1 (N = 47, convicted subjects) was compared with Group 2 (N = 126, no previous criminal conduct). Grade repetition, work problems, and drug problems were statistically associated with criminal behavior. Having daily family meals together and having children were inversely related to convictions. The genotype distribution of the two groups was similar. The association between environmental factors and antisocial behavior confirms previous findings in the literature. The lack of genetic association does not exclude the role of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system in determining antisocial behavior; further studies with larger samples are needed, together with investigation of other components of the GABA pathway.