Does Variance in Drinking Motives Explain the Genetic Overlap Between Personality and Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms? A Twin Study of Young Women

Andrew K. Littlefield, Arpana Agrawal, Jarrod M. Ellingson, Sean Kristjansson, Pamela A.F. Madden, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Wendy S. Slutske, Andrew C. Heath, Kenneth J. Sher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Genetic risk for alcohol dependence has been shown to overlap with genetic factors contributing to variation in dimensions of personality. Although drinking motives have been posited as important mediators of the alcohol-personality relation, the extent to which the genetic covariance between alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms (i.e., abuse and dependence criteria) and personality is explained by genetic factors contributing to variation in drinking motives remains unclear. Methods: Using data from 2,904 young adult female twins, the phenotypic and genetic associations between personality dimensions (constraint [measured by the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire; Tellegen A, 1982 unpublished data], conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness [measured by the NEO-PI; Costa and McCrae, 1985]), internal drinking motives (enhancement and coping motives [measured by the Drinking Motive Questionnaire; Cooper, 1994]), and AUD symptoms were tested. Results: Significant genetic associations were found between all personality measures and AUD symptoms. Coping motives showed significant genetic overlap with AUD symptoms and most personality measures, whereas enhancement motives were not significantly heritable. Adjusting for coping motives, genetic correlations between AUD symptoms and traits of neuroticism and agreeableness were no longer statistically significant. Conclusions: Findings suggest that genetic variation in drinking to cope might account for a considerable proportion of the genetic covariance between specific personality dimensions and AUD symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2242-2250
Number of pages9
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume35
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Keywords

  • Alcohol Use Disorders
  • Behavior Genetics
  • Drinking Motives
  • Personality

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Does Variance in Drinking Motives Explain the Genetic Overlap Between Personality and Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms? A Twin Study of Young Women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this