Alcohol Consumption among Adolescents Psychosocial and Genetic influences

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The present thesis is based on four studies focusing on alcohol consumption among Swedish adolescents, and therewith related psychosocial and genetic factors.One main objective was to study the reasons for drinking alcohol among different population - representative samples of adolescents in order to identify motives for drinking. Relationships between these drinking motives, alcohol consumption, and alcohol - related problems were also investigated. Three motives emerged from this study: social - enhancement, coping and dominance. The association with alcohol consumption and alcohol - related problems was positive for social - enhancement and coping motives, but negative for the dominance motive.A significant heritability of alcohol use disorders has been demonstrated by family, adoption and twin studies. Environmental influences have also been acknowledged to play an important role in the development of alcohol use disorders. Moreover, the interaction between genetic and environmental factors is likely to influence the risk - resilience for alcohol use disorders. In view of this knowledge, plausible candidate polymorphisms were considered in gene - environment interaction models. An effect of the genetic polymorphisms was only present when a G x E model was considered. A genetic variant of the clock gene Period2, in an interaction with sleep problems, was studied in relation to alcohol consumption among adolescents. High alcohol consumption was associated with the AA genotype of the PER2 SNP10870 polymorphism, in an interaction with several and frequent sleep problems, among adolescent boys. A genetic variant in the opioid µ receptor 1 gene, in an interaction with alcohol consumption, was studied in relation to depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms were predicted by the G allele of the OPRM1 A118G polymorphism, in an interaction with high alcohol consumption, among adolescent girls. Additionally, the PER2 SNP10870 and the OPRM1 A118G polymorphisms were studied in a sample of severely alcoholic females.Furthermore, alcohol consumption was assessed by using different instruments, such as biomarkers and surveys. Comparisons were carried out to identify the most suitable method to assess alcohol consumption among adolescents. Questionnaire and interview seemed more suitable tools than biomarkers in this regard.The results eventually support the importance of psychosocial and genetic influences, and their interaction effect on alcohol consumption among adolescents.