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Addiction. 2019 Jan;114(1):81-91. doi: 10.1111/add.14405. Epub 2018 Sep 3.

Parental alcohol use disorder and offspring marital outcomes.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.
2
Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.
3
Center for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.
4
Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.
6
Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.

Abstract

AIMS:

We tested whether parental alcohol use disorder (AUD) predicted adult offspring's likelihood of marriage and marriage to an AUD-affected spouse; whether effects differed as a function of the sex or number of affected parents; and whether they were robust to confounders.

DESIGN:

Sex-stratified Cox and logistic regression models.

SETTING:

Sweden.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 1 171 070 individuals (51.40% male) born 1965-75.

MEASUREMENTS:

Obtained from legal, medical and pharmacy registries. Predictor was parent AUD. Outcomes were marriage and spouse AUD. Adjustments included offspring birth year and AUD; and parental education, marriage, divorce, criminal behavior and drug abuse.

FINDINGS:

Male and female offspring of AUD-affected parents were more likely to marry at younger ages (< 25), illustrative unadjusted hazard ratio (HR)age 20  = 1.22 (1.17, 1.28) and 1.34 (1.20, 1.39) and were less likely to marry at older ages (> 25), HRage 30  = 0.79 (0.78, 0.81) and 0.82 (0.81, 0.84). Parental AUD was associated with higher odds of having an affected spouse for males and females, odds ratio (OR) = 1.47 (1.38, 1.57) and 1.63 (1.56, 1.70). Effects were more pronounced for those with two versus one AUD-affected parent and adjustments attenuated effects negligibly. Daughters of affected mothers (versus fathers) were more likely to have AUD-affected husbands, OR = 1.68 (1.54, 1.84) versus 1.56 (1.48, 1.64), while there was no difference in sons.

CONCLUSIONS:

In Sweden, parental alcohol use disorder (AUD) is associated with a higher probability of marriage at younger ages, a lower probability of marriage at older ages and a higher likelihood of marriage to an affected spouse compared with no parental AUD. Most of these effects become stronger when the number of AUD-affected parents increases from one to two, and most effects hold after controlling for parents' socio-economic status, marital history, other externalizing disorders and offspring's own AUD status. Daughters of affected mothers are more likely to have an affected spouse.

KEYWORDS:

Adult children of alcoholics; age-dependent effects; marital; marriage; parental alcohol use disorder; spousal alcohol use disorder

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