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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 May 1;150:38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.02.001. Epub 2015 Feb 11.

Risk factors for alcoholism in the Oklahoma Family Health Patterns project: impact of early life adversity and family history on affect regulation and personality.

Author information

1
Behavioral Sciences Laboratories, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA; Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73190, USA. Electronic address: kristen-sorocco@ouhsc.edu.
2
Behavioral Sciences Laboratories, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.
3
Behavioral Sciences Laboratories, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73190, USA.
4
Cognitive Science Research Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA.

Abstract

AIM:

This study examined the impact of early lifetime adversity (ELA) on affect regulation and personality in persons with family history (FH+) and without (FH-) a family history of alcoholism. We examined the impact of early life adversity in healthy young adults, 18-30 years of age enrolled in a long-term study on risk for alcohol and other substance abuse.

METHODS:

ELA was assessed by a composite score of low socioeconomic status and personal experience of physical or sexual abuse and/or separation from parents before age 16, resulting in a score of 0, 1-2, or >3 adverse events. Unstable affect regulation and personality variables were obtained via self-report measures.

RESULTS:

Higher ELA scores were seen in FH+ (χ(2)=109.2, p<0.0001) and in women (χ(2)=17.82, p=0.0019). Although higher ELA predicted less emotional stability and more behavioral undercontrol, further analysis including both FH and ELA showed that FH+ persons are prone to poor affect regulation, negative moods, and have risky drinking and drug abuse tendencies independent of ELA level. ELA predicts reduced stress reactivity and poorer cognitive control over impulsive behaviors as shown elsewhere.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present work shows that FH+ have poor mood regulation and antisocial characteristics. The greater prevalence of ELA in FH+ persons indicates that life experience and FH+ work in tandem to result in risky patterns of alcohol and drug experimentation to elevate risk for alcoholism. Further studies of genetic and environmental contributions to alcoholism are called for.

KEYWORDS:

Affect regulation; Alcoholism; Family history; Lifetime adversity; Personality

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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