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May 1980

Studies of Familial and Nonfamilial Alcoholism: I. Demographic Studies

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry (Dr Frances) and the Alcoholism Treatment Service (Dr Frances), New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, White Plains, NY; the Naval Alcoholism Rehabilitation Center (Dr Bucky), San Diego; and the California School of Professional Psychology, (Dr Bucky), San Diego. Dr Timm is in private practice in Fargo, ND.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(5):564-566. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780180078009

• This study supports the notion that a group of familial alcoholics can be isolated that is significantly different on many parameters from nonfamilial alcoholics and that this may have implications for diagnostic classification, prognosis, and treatment. A group of 7,064 military men admitted to naval residential alcoholic treatment programs were categorized into two groups: (1) those who reported no incidence of any family history of problems related to drinking; and (2) those who reported at least one family member with a possible drinking problem. These two cohort groups were compared in terms of demographic and behavioral variables obtained from a biographical questionnaire. It was found that the group with a family history of alcoholism had more severe symptomatology of alcoholism, more antisocial behavior, worse academic and social performance in school, less stable employment histories, more severe physical symptoms related to alcohol, and a background of larger families with lower socioeconomic status and more psychopathology.