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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2017 Mar;78(2):222-231.

No Reliable Evidence That Emotional Disorders Are Proximal Antecedents, Concomitants, or Short-Term Consequences of First Episode Alcohol Use Disorders in a Representative Community Sample.

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Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, Oregon.
Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences, College of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri - Columbia, Columbia, Missouri.



Emotional disorders and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) frequently demonstrate significant 12-month and lifetime comorbid associations. This comorbidity has been incorporated into influential theories of addiction processes that posit direct or indirect causal associations between these disorder categories. There is currently no consensus, however, about the sequencing of these disorders. In this research, longitudinal data from a regionally representative community sample were used to evaluate whether emotional disorders constitute a proximal antecedent, concomitant, or short-term consequence of first episode (or index) AUDs.


Participants were 131 persons with index AUD episodes lasting 12 months or more and 131 matched controls. For each participant with an AUD, the presence or absence of an emotional disorder was coded for three time intervals: (a) the 12 months preceding full syndrome AUD episode onset; (b) the last 12 months of the AUD episode; and (c) the 12 months following complete symptom AUD episode offset. These intervals, referenced to participant age, were matched to those of control participants, and emotional disorder rate comparisons subsequently performed both within and between groups.


Findings indicated an absence of significant within- or between-subject differences in emotional disorder rates, suggesting that the association between AUDs and emotional disorders is neither directional nor systematic. There was also no indication that the length of the AUD episode increased risk for an emotional disorder in the year following AUD offset.


Overall, this research suggests that emotional disorders are generally independent events in relation to the index AUD episode.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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