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Addict Behav. 2010 Feb;35(2):73-83. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.09.013. Epub 2009 Sep 11.

A cognitive model for the intergenerational transference of alcohol use behavior.

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School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia.


A family history of alcoholism has shown to be one of the greatest consistent risk factors in the intergenerational transference of alcohol problems. Whereas a large number of studies have attempted to identify the processes responsible for this interfamilial transfer, the mechanisms remain unclear. Family, twin and adoption studies, and environmental theories have resulted in a number of unanswered questions regarding the extent that these factors influence the transmission of alcohol behavior. Recently, cognitive theories have suggested that the observation of parental drinking habits contributes to the child's beliefs and expectations of alcohol's effects. A hypothesised cognitive model will be proposed suggesting that the mechanism for the transference of particular drinking styles from parent to offspring may be further explained by the transference of alcohol cognitions, in particular, alcohol expectancies and drinking refusal self-efficacy. This review focuses on research of bio/psycho/social factors that perpetuate alcohol misuse across generations, and will delineate the proposed cognitive mechanisms for the interfamilial transference of alcohol problems and discuss the implications of the proposed model.

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