TUESDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Genetics appear to play a
role in teens' use of heavy drinking to cope with negative
feelings, a new study suggests.
Researchers collected DNA from 282 teens in the Netherlands who
had consumed alcohol at least once in their lives. The teens were
also asked about their reasons for drinking and the degree of
alcohol-related problems they had experienced.
The study found that binge drinking and alcohol-related problems
among the teens were strongly associated with drinking to cope and
variations in the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) gene, which is
involved in the brain's reward pathway.
The findings appear online and in the April print issue of the
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
The study is the first to examine the link between genes,
drinking to cope and risky alcohol use by teens, said senior author
Carmen S. van der Zwaluw, a doctoral candidate at Radboud
University, who added that further research is required to confirm
The next step "would be examining whether other genetic variants
increase the risk for drinking problems, and if this risk can be
decreased by learning other coping styles to handle the problems,"
van der Zwaluw said in a journal news release.
The Nemours Foundation has more about
kids and alcohol.