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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Jan 1;134:78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.010. Epub 2013 Sep 19.

Parental separation and early substance involvement: results from children of alcoholic and cannabis dependent twins.

Author information

1
Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, Indiana University School of Education, Bloomington, IN, United States; Midwest Alcoholism Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, United States. Electronic address: mwaldron@indiana.edu.
2
Midwest Alcoholism Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, United States.
3
Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, United Kingdom.
4
Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, United States.
5
Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia.
6
Faculty of Arts and Business, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Risks associated with parental separation have received limited attention in research on children of parents with substance use disorders. We examined early substance involvement as a function of parental separation during childhood and parental alcohol and cannabis dependence.

METHOD:

Data were drawn from 1318 adolescent offspring of monozygotic (MZ) or dizygotic (DZ) Australian twin parents. Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were conducted predicting age at first use of alcohol, first alcohol intoxication, first use and first regular use of cigarettes, and first use of cannabis, from parental separation and both parent and cotwin substance dependence. Parent and cotwin alcohol and cannabis dependence were initially modeled separately, with post hoc tests for equality of effects.

RESULTS:

With few exceptions, risks associated with parental alcohol versus cannabis dependence could be equated, with results largely suggestive of genetic transmission of risk from parental substance (alcohol or cannabis) dependence broadly defined. Controlling for parental substance dependence, parental separation was a strong predictor for all substance use variables, especially through age 13.

CONCLUSION:

Together, findings underscore the importance of parental separation as a risk-factor for early substance involvement over and above both genetic and environmental influences specific to parental alcohol and cannabis dependence.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescent substance use; Children of twins; Parental separation; Parental substance dependence

PMID:
24120074
PMCID:
PMC3908916
DOI:
10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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