DRD4 and susceptibility to peer influence on alcohol use from adolescence to adulthood

Academic Article

Abstract

  • © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Background: The long allele of DRD4 is associated with greater susceptibility to peer influences on alcohol use in young adulthood, but it is unclear whether this increased susceptibility extends to other developmental periods. This study examined the interactive effects of DRD4 polymorphism and friends' alcohol use from adolescence to adulthood. Methods: Participants (N= 340; 59% female 98% White) reported on their own and their friends' alcohol use at four time points between mean ages 17 and 33. Autoregressive cross-lagged models evaluated reciprocal relationships between friends' alcohol use and participants' own alcohol use and frequency of heavy drinking over time. Multigroup modeling tested differences in model paths and covariances across high vs. low risk DRD4 polymorphisms. Results: Alcohol use at age 33 was predicted by previous friends' alcohol use and correlated with current friends' alcohol use only for carriers of the DRD4 long allele. Regardless of DRD4 genotype, friends' alcohol use at age 17 predicted greater alcohol use and more frequent heavy drinking at age 23. Alcohol use and/or heavy drinking predicted greater friends' alcohol use at later time points for both genotype groups across adolescence and adulthood. Conclusions: The long allele of DRD4 is associated with increased susceptibility to peer influences on alcohol use in young adulthood, but not earlier in development. Adults with the long allele of DRD4 may benefit from interventions educating them about this risk and equipping them with strategies to reduce affiliations with and influence of drinking friends.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 23676250
  • Author List

  • Mrug S; Windle M
  • Start Page

  • 168
  • End Page

  • 173
  • Volume

  • 145