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Mood-related drinking motives mediate the familial association between major depression and alcohol dependence

BACKGROUND: Major depression and alcohol dependence co-occur within individuals and families to a higher than expected degree. This study investigated whether mood-related drinking motives mediate the association between major depression and alcohol dependence, and what the genetic and environmental bases are for this relationship.METHODS: The sample included 5,181 individuals from the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders, aged 30 and older. Participants completed a clinical interview which assessed lifetime major depression, alcohol dependence, and mood-related drinking motives.RESULTS: Mood-related drinking motives significantly explained the depression-alcohol dependence relationship at both the phenotypic and familial levels. Results from twin analyses indicated that for both males and females, the familial factors underlying mood-related drinking motives accounted for virtually all of the familial variance that overlaps between depression and alcohol dependence.CONCLUSIONS: The results are consistent with an indirect role for mood-related drinking motives in the etiology of depression and alcohol dependence, and suggest that mood-related drinking motives may be a useful index of vulnerability for these conditions.

Authors: Young-Wolff KC; Kendler KS; Sintov ND; Prescott CA

​Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009 Aug;33(8):1476-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.00978.x. Epub 2009 May 4.

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