Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic Link To Heavy Substance Abuse In Teenagers

Date:
March 19, 2007
Source:
Cardiff University
Summary:
Family and community experiences play an important role in whether teenagers experiment with alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana, but genetic influences become more important for progression to heavy substance use, a team led by Cardiff University researchers has found.

Family and community experiences play an important role in whether teenagers experiment with alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana, but genetic influences become more important for progression to heavy substance use, a team led by Cardiff University researchers has found.

Researchers questioned more than 1,200 pairs of identical and non-identical twins aged 11-19 in Wales and Manchester about their use of these substances to try and identify the role played by genetic and environmental factors in whether teenagers experiment with substances and whether they go on to heavier substance use.

The study, published in the international journal Addiction found a strong link between starting to smoke tobacco or marijuana and going on to heavy use. There was a weaker link for alcohol, suggesting that many teenagers may experiment with drink without developing a problem.

The study found 86 per cent of youngsters had drunk alcohol at some point in their lives and of these, one third reported binge drinking, drunkenness, or getting into situations they later regretted because of alcohol. Cigarettes had been tried by 58 per cent, with 24 per cent reporting heavy use. Just 22 per cent reported trying marijuana and of these, 62 per cent had used it fewer than six times in their life.

The researchers also found that family and community factors played a large part in whether a young person started using a substance, but genetic factors were more important in the progression to heavy use.

Lead researcher Dr Marianne van den Bree of the Department of Psychological Medicine, Cardiff University School of Medicine said: "It makes sense that environmental factors such as family and peer influences, cost and availability play a more important part in whether a teenager experiments with these substances. However, biological processes in the brain and body may be more important in the progress towards addiction.

"The strong link between starting smoking and going on to heavier use suggests that public health strategies should concentrate on stopping teenagers from experimenting with cigarettes in the first place. By contrast, given the large numbers who try alcohol without developing a problem habit, it may be that drink strategies should focus on those at risk of heavy use. However, young people should still be warned against drinking too much, because of the risk of accidents and fights."

The study was conducted by researchers at Cardiff’s Department of Psychological Medicine; the Department of Psychiatry and Human Genetics, Virgina Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA; and Oxfordshire Community Mental Healthcare Trust, Oxford.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cardiff University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cardiff University. "Genetic Link To Heavy Substance Abuse In Teenagers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070319074317.htm>.
Cardiff University. (2007, March 19). Genetic Link To Heavy Substance Abuse In Teenagers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070319074317.htm
Cardiff University. "Genetic Link To Heavy Substance Abuse In Teenagers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070319074317.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins