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 December 22, 2014 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. 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