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Psychol Addict Behav. 2001 Dec;15(4):306-9.

Binge drinking in Chinese, Korean, and White college students: genetic and ethnic group differences.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego USA.


Studies of Asian college students have found that rates of binge drinking are associated with variation in the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) gene. Chinese and Koreans have different prevalence rates of the ALDH2*2 allele, alcohol use, and alcoholism. The association of ALDH2 status and ethnic group with binge drinking was examined in 328 Chinese, Korean, and White college students. Ethnic group differences were found, with Whites having the highest rate of binge drinking, followed by Koreans and then Chinese. Among Asian participants, ALDH2 status and ethnicity related to binge drinking in an additive manner. Possessing an ALDH2*2 allele and being Chinese were protective factors, and being White and being Korean without an ALDH2*2 allele were risk factors for binge drinking. These results suggest that ALDH2 status, as well as other factors that differ in Koreans and Chinese, but do not interact with ALDH2, are associated with binge drinking among Asians.

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