The study involved 7,177 Danish parents born in Copenhagen between October 1959 and December 1961.
There have been many studies about the risk involved with a family history of alcoholism, but most of them were based on much smaller samples. The Danish study is one of the first longitudinal population studies conducted over multiple generations.
The study found that the link between parental alcoholism and alcohol use disorders among offspring exists independent of other factors including gender, parental social status and parental psychiatric hospitalization for other diagnoses.
Risk Stronger For Females
"Furthermore, this association appeared to be stronger among female than male offspring, which suggests that inherited factors related to alcohol use disorders are at least as important among daughters as among sons," lead author Erik Lykke Mortensen said in a news release. "This finding is important because some early studies suggested that a genetic load played a stronger role in males than in females."
If you have or had a parent with a drinking problem, you need to be aware that your own alcohol consumption could easily develop into an alcohol use disorder.
Source: Mortensen E, "The Contribution of Parental Alcohol Use Disorders and Other Psychiatric Illness to the Risk of Alcohol Use Disorders in the Offspring," Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. April 2011. Related Information: