SATURDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Children of parents with
an alcohol use disorder (AUD) are at increased risk for the same
type of problem, says a new study from Denmark.
The risk of an alcohol use disorder, which includes alcoholism
and alcohol abuse, was higher among those whose parents had an AUD.
The increased risk was independent of other major predictors, such
as gender, parents' social status and the psychiatric
hospitalization of parents, the researchers noted.
"Furthermore, this association appeared to be stronger among female than male offspring, which suggests that inherited factors related to AUDs are at least as important among daughters as among sons," study corresponding author Erik Lykke Mortensen, associate professor in medical psychology at the University of Copenhagen, said in a journal news release.
"This finding is important because some early studies suggested that a genetic load played a stronger role in males than in females," he added.
Researchers analyzed data from 3,627 men and 3,550 women born in
Copenhagen, Denmark, between October 1959 and December 1961. Their
findings appear online and in the July print issue of the journal
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
The researchers noted that Denmark offered some advantages to
this type of study. "Longitudinal population studies are both
expensive and take a long time to complete," Mortensen said. "In
some countries it may also be a problem to follow several
generations through decades. But in Denmark we have personal
identification numbers and national health registries."
"The key message for the general public is that there is an increased risk associated with parental alcoholism, but obviously many other factors determine whether an individual develops an AUD," he concluded.
The American Psychological Association has more about
alcohol use disorders.