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J Stud Alcohol. 1987 Nov;48(6):528-34.

Substance use and mental health problems among sons of alcoholics and controls.

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  • 1Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Diego, California 92161.


Data from a questionnaire sent to 864 university male students and nonacademic staff were used to compare self-reports of substance intake patterns and problems as well as family histories of depression and substance abuse across four groups: Group 1, 682 men (79%) who had no alcoholic first or second-degree relative; Group 2, 101 men (12%) who reported an alcoholic second-degree relative only; Group 3, 59 men (7%) who reported an alcoholic first-degree relative only and Group 4, 22 men (3%) with alcoholism in both first- and second-degree relatives. Although few men were already alcoholics or drug abusers and the groups did not differ significantly on the quantity and frequency of alcohol intake, there was an increase in the personal history of alcohol-related problems from Group 1 to Group 4. There were no significant differences across the groups on the proportion of nonalcoholic relatives demonstrating drug abuse or depressive disorders.

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