Interaction between the ADH1B*3 allele and drinking motives on alcohol use among Black college students

Michelle J. Zaso, Jessica M. Desalu, Jueun Kim, Kavita Suryadevara, John M. Belote, Aesoon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Black young adults have lower rates of alcohol use than other racial groups. Genetic factors may protect against drinking. Specifically, the ADH1B*3 allele is present almost exclusively in Black populations and has been protective against alcohol use and alcohol use disorder. The protective effects of the ADH1B*3 allele, however, may differ as a function of alcohol-promoting cognitions. Objectives: The current study examined whether ADH1B*3 moderated relations of drinking motives with alcohol consumption among Black college drinkers. Methods: Participants were 241 undergraduate students of self-identified Black race (mean age = 20 years; 66% female) who reported consuming alcohol at least once in the past 30 days. Results: ADH1B*3 was not significantly associated with drinking motives or drinking behaviors. However, significant, albeit small, interaction effects of ADH1B*3 with drinking motives on drinking behavior were found; the presence of an ADH1B*3 allele protected against greater drinking quantity among students with high social motives (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.95, 95% CI [0.92, 0.99]) and against frequent drinking among students with low coping motives (IRR = 1.06, 95% CI [1.01, 1.11]). Conclusion: These findings represent a novel demonstration of genetic modulation of alcohol-related cognitions within Black college drinkers, although replication is needed. Results represent an initial step toward better characterizing individual differences in associations of drinking motives with drinking behavior, with potential implications for interventions aimed at motivational processes in alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-338
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2018


  • ADH genotype
  • Alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Black students
  • alcohol use
  • drinking motives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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