Social Relationships Moderate Genetic Influences on Heavy Drinking in Young Adulthood

Objective: Social relationships, such as committed partnerships, limit risky behaviors like heavy drinking, in part, because of increased social control. The current analyses examine whether involvement in committed relationships or social support extend beyond a main effect to limit genetic liability in heavy drinking (gene–environment interaction) during young adulthood. Method: Using data from the young adult wave of the Finnish Twin Study, FinnTwin12 (n = 3,269), we tested whether involvement in romantic partnerships or social support moderated genetic influences on heavy drinking using biometric twin modeling for gene–environment interaction. Results: Involvement in a romantic partnership was associated with a decline in genetic variance in both males and females, although the overall magnitude of genetic influence was greater in males. Sex differences emerged for social support: increased social support was associated with increased genetic influence for females and reduced genetic influence for males. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that social relationships are important moderators of genetic influences on young adult alcohol use. Mechanisms of social control that are important in limiting genetic liability during adolescence extend into young adulthood. In addition, although some relationships limit genetic liability equally, others, such as extensive social networks, may operate differently across sex.

Publication Date:
Nov 30 2017
Date Submitted:
Mar 04 2019
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 78, 6
A freely accessible, full text version is available using the link(s) in External Resources.
External Resources:

 Record created 2019-03-04, last modified 2019-04-03

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)