Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Peer drug use may increase a genetically susceptible individual's tendency to use drugs

Date:
July 19, 2010
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
The nature-nurture debate is usually about how much of something is due to our genes and how much is caused by our environment. New research shows that the case is more complicated for young women who smoke, drink, or use drugs, for two related reasons.

The nature-nurture debate is usually about how much of something is due to our genes and how much is caused by our environment. New research just published in the academic journal Addiction shows that the case is more complicated for young women who smoke, drink, or use drugs, for two related reasons.

Related Articles


First, a young woman with a genetic predisposition to substance use is also predisposed to choose friends who smoke, drink, or use drugs, thereby altering her environment in a way that encourages substance use. Second, a genetically susceptible young woman's exposure to substance-using friends not only changes her environment but also increases her genetic inclination to use these drugs regularly, thereby raising even higher her already increased likelihood of substance use.

Using a sample of over 2,000 female twins, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis looked for links between two types of data: 1) women in the sample who regularly used tobacco, alcohol, or drugs and 2) women whose friends were involved in regular substance use. The links they found showed that genetic vulnerability to regular use of alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis is exacerbated by exposure to friends who use alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.

It is well known that adolescents often select peers who engage in behaviors similar to their own. But this study showed that peer selection has a genetic basis whereby one's genetic predisposition to regular substance use is correlated with the likelihood of choosing friends who also use psychoactive substances. The genetic factors that influence our own likelihood of using drugs thus also modify our likelihood of associating with friends who do the same.

However, exposure to these drug-using peers has a second, important influence on our own liability to use drugs. The study found that heritable influences on an individual's own regular substance use increased as they affiliated with more drug-using peers -- in other words, affiliations with substance-using peers enhances the role that heritable factors play in our own regular substance use. Put simply, increasing affiliations with drug-using peers is correlated with a more 'genetic' form of regular substance use.

According to lead author Dr. Arpana Agrawal, "Nature and nurture don't just combine to produce a woman who smokes, drinks, or uses drugs -- nurture can also increase the effect of nature."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Agrawal A., Balasubramanian S., Smith E., Madden P., Bucholz K., Heath A., and Lynskey M. Peer substance involvement modifies genetic influences on regular substance involvement in young women. Addiction, 105 DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02993.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Peer drug use may increase a genetically susceptible individual's tendency to use drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621121354.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2010, July 19). Peer drug use may increase a genetically susceptible individual's tendency to use drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621121354.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Peer drug use may increase a genetically susceptible individual's tendency to use drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621121354.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
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