Alcohol Milestones And Internalizing, Externalizing, And Executive Function: Longitudinal And Polygenic Score Associations

Researchers investigated the relationships between alcohol use, behavioral traits (such as impulsivity and negative emotions), and genetic risk. Using data from 3,681 participants aged 11 to 36, researchers examined how behavioral traits and genetic risk factors are linked to different stages of alcohol use (first drink, intoxication, AUD symptoms, AUD diagnosis). The study found that externalizing behaviors, like conduct disorder symptoms, may increase the likelihood of starting to drink and developing drinking problems. Internalizing behaviors, such as social anxiety, are associated with a higher risk of progressing from initial alcohol use to severe AUD. Initiating alcohol use and having AUD are linked to an increased risk of later depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. Genetic risk scores for the number of drinks per week are associated with a higher likelihood of progressing through stages of alcohol use, while genetic risk for problematic alcohol use is linked to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts. Executive function was not associated with alcohol use transitions.


Paul SE, Baranger DAA, Johnson EC, Jackson JJ, Gorelik AJ, Miller AP, Hatoum AS, Thompson WK, Strube M, Dick DM, Kamarajan C, Kramer JR, Plawecki MH, Chan G, Anokhin AP, Chorlian DB, Kinreich S, Meyers JL, Porjesz B, Edenberg HJ, Agrawal A, Bucholz KK, Bogdan R (2024) Alcohol milestones and internalizing, externalizing, and executive function: longitudinal and polygenic score associations. Psychological Medicine, 1-14. PMID: 38721768DOI: 10.1017/S003329172400076X.