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March 1978

Some Genetic Aspects of Alcoholism and Criminality: A Population of Adoptees

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Child and Youth Psychiatry, University of Umeå (Sweden).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(3):269-276. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770270019001

• The state criminal records and official registers of alcoholics were used in a study of 2,000 adoptees and their biological and adoptive parents. The frequency of registration for the adoptees were approximately the same as for the population in general, but for the biological parents it was two to three times greater. Very few adoptive parents appeared in the records. It is conceivable that to a large extent adoption neutralized the "social heritage" from the biological parents. There was, however, a significant correlation in the records between alcoholism in biological parents and in their adopted-out sons. On the other hand, the criminal records showed no such correlation between biological parents and their children. These results support the hypothesis that there is a genetic explanation for the development of alcoholism, but not for the manifestation of criminality.

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