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Dev Psychopathol. 1999 Fall;11(4):869-900.

Behavioral disinhibition and the development of substance-use disorders: findings from the Minnesota Twin Family Study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


One variant of substance-use disorder is characterized by behavioral disinhibition. In this report, we martial evidence for a model for the development of this variant. We hypothesize that genetic liability for this variant is reflected in a spectrum of risk indicators linked to the inability or unwillingness to inhibit behavioral impulses. Included in this spectrum are personality traits suggesting low constraint, and externalizing psychopathology, including conduct, oppositional defiant, and attention-deficit disorder in children and antisocial personality disorder and behavior in adults. We further hypothesize that these individual differences in behavioral disinhibition are manifestations of underlying central nervous system processes associated with various psychophysiological anomalies, some of which may index genetic risk for substance abuse. Support for the model is derived from the analysis of findings from the Minnesota Twin Family Study, an epidemiological investigation of approximately 2,700 adolescent twins and their parents.

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