May 1980

Development of Alcoholism in Adoptees Raised Apart From Alcoholic Biologic Relatives

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(5):561-563. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780180075008

• Male adoptees raised apart from alcoholic biologic parents were followed up and compared with adoptees of nonalcoholic biologic parents. Significant associations were found between adoptee alcoholism and an alcoholic biologic background and between childhood conduct disorder and the development of alcoholism as an adult. None of the environmental factors—psychiatric or alcohol problems in adoptive family, socioeconomic status of the adoptive family, or exposure to discontinuous mothering as an infant—predicted adoptee alcoholism. These findings suggest the importance of a genetic factor in alcoholism and are in accord with previous work that failed to show an independent effect of an alcoholic environment in development of adoptee alcoholism.