Effects of polygenic risk and perceived friends’ drinking and disruptive behavior on development of alcohol use across adolescence

Michelle J. Zaso, Stephen A. Maisto, Stephen J. Glatt, Aesoon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Developmental theory posits interacting individual and contextual factors that contribute to alcohol use across adolescence. Despite the well-documented salience of peer environmental influences on adolescent drinking, it is not known whether peer environments moderate polygenic risks for trajectories of alcohol use. The current theoretically based investigation aimed to test developmental gene–environment interaction (G×E) effects across adolescence. Method: Latent growth curve models tested interactive associations of polygenic risk scores and adolescents’ perceived friend drinking and disruptive behavior with adolescents’ initial level of alcohol use frequency at age 16 years old and change in alcohol frequency from ages 16 to 20. The sample comprised 8,941 White adolescents (49% female) from Great Britain within the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Results: Greater polygenic risk was associated with more frequent initial drinking as well as escalations in drinking frequency over the subsequent 5 years in latent growth curve models. Contrary to study hypotheses, no significant G×E effects were identified after controlling for confounding main and interaction effects. Conclusions: Adolescents at heightened genetic risk may accelerate their alcohol use across adolescence, although not significantly more so in the presence of these alcohol-promoting peer environments. Future well-powered, theoretically driven replication efforts are needed to examine generalizability of these findings across diverse samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-815
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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