Genetic Correlation and Gene–Environment Interaction Between Alcohol Problems and Educational Level in Young Adulthood*

Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.
Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs (Impact Factor: 2.76). 03/2011; 72(2):210-20. DOI: 10.15288/jsad.2011.72.210
Source: PubMed


A lower level of education often co-occurs with alcohol problems, but factors underlying this co-occurrence are not well understood. Specifically, whether these outcomes share part of their underlying genetic influences has not been widely studied. Educational level also reflects various environmental influences that may moderate the genetic etiology of alcohol problems, but gene-environment interactions between educational attainment and alcohol problems are unknown.
We studied the two non-mutually exclusive possibilities of common genetic influences and gene-environment interaction between alcohol problems and low education using a population-based sample (n = 4,858) of Finnish young adult twins (M(age) = 24.5 years, range: 22.8-28.6 years). Alcohol problems were assessed with the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index and self-reported maximum number of drinks consumed in a 24-hour period. Years of education, based on completed and ongoing studies, represented educational level.
Educational level was inversely associated with alcohol problems in young adulthood, and this association was most parsimoniously explained by overlapping genetic influences. Independent of this co-occurrence, higher education was associated with increased relative importance of genetic influences on alcohol problems, whereas environmental factors had a greater effect among twins with lower education.
Our findings suggest a complex relationship between educational level and alcohol problems in young adulthood. Lower education is related to higher levels of alcohol problems, and this co-occurrence is influenced by genetic factors affecting both phenotypes. In addition, educational level moderates the importance of genetic and environmental influences on alcohol problems, possibly reflecting differences in social-control mechanisms related to educational level.

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Available from: Richard J Rose, Jan 24, 2014
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    • "As cell phones and their applications ( " apps " ) become more sophisticated, these options will become more integrated with prevention efforts. In addition, the increased understanding of the effect of alcohol use on brain development and cognitive performance (e.g., Squeglia et al., 2012) and genetic markers for initiation and progression into alcohol use disorders (e.g., Latvala et al., 2011) will indicate the individuals for whom universal prevention may be effective and those who require indicated intervention. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Universal prevention programs are intended to prevent or delay the onset of alcohol use disorders in the general population. This article reviews research on universal prevention programs for alcohol use published over the last 75 years. Method: A literature search of studies published since the inception of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs in 1940 revealed 66 manuscripts that addressed or reported the findings of universal prevention programs in that journal. Additional studies published elsewhere were also reviewed. Results: Research on universal prevention programs can be divided into three eras: Identifying the need for prevention (1940-1970) and the first (1971-1990) and second (1991-2010) eras of universal prevention research. Conclusions: In the past 75 years, the field of universal prevention for alcohol use disorders has evolved from nonexistent to mature, replicating and enhancing effective strategies and identifying and learning from ineffective ones. The future provides unique opportunities to develop sophisticated strategies to enhance the efficacy of universal prevention programs.
    Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs. Supplement 03/2014; 75 Suppl 17(supplement17):89-97. DOI:10.15288/jsads.2014.75.89
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    • "In regression models, educational level, physical activity index, smoking status, total amount of consumed alcohol per month and drinking to intoxication were set as covariates. Educational level was a four-level categorical variable (compulsory school, vocational secondary education, academic secondary education, and tertiary education) [29]. We calculated physical activity index from the product of self-reported exercise intensity, duration (hours) and yearly frequency (days) as described by Mustelin et al. [28]. "
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    BMC Public Health 03/2013; 13(1):231. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-231 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Social skills are first obtained from the family. From a psycho-dynamic viewpoint, Ego organization dysfunction, which is promoted by low levels of education, inconsistent upbringing in the family, violence experienced in family and elsewhere, and a general lack of social knowledge (Meade, Slesnick, 2002, Latvala et al., 2011; Lesch et al.,2011), creates dysfunction of perception, which in turn leads to emotional loss and the loss of differentiating emotional meaning, and dysfunction in object relationships. This dysfunction is often involved in primitive psyche defense mechanisms, difficulties with frustration and toleration, affect and impulse control dysfunction, and in difficulties in taking decisions. "
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    7th Annual International Scientific Conference „New Dimensions in the development of Society”; 10/2011
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