Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Posted with permission from Journal of Studies on Alcohol, vol. 60, pp. 825-832, 1999 (presently Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs []). Copyright by Alcohol Research Documentation, Inc., Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, Piscataway, NJ 08854


Objective: Potential moderator and mediator roles of several measures of socioeconomic status (SES) were investigated for the relationship between a family history of alcoholism( FH) and alcohol dependence symptoms in adulthood. Method: These analyses were performed with a sample of 931 men and 385 women participating in studies at the Alcohol Research Center, University of Michigan. Hierarchical multiple regression equations were used to assess whether SES mediated and moderated relationships between FH and alcohol dependence symptoms. Results: In general, measures of SES (education, occupation, personal and household income) were more important predictors of alcohol dependence symptoms among men, while FH was a stronger predictor among women. In the female sample, measures of personal and household income interacted with family history such that the influence of family history on adult alcohol dependence symptoms was significantly stronger among low income women. Measures of SES and FH were additively related to alcohol dependence symptoms among men. Education partially meditated the relationship between family history and alcohol dependence symptoms among men, indicating that the influence of family history on subsequent alcohol problems among men may be partially due to familial alcoholism's negative effect on educational attainment. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest the influence of FH on alcohol dependence varies according to SES and gender, and point to the usefulness of examining potential moderators and mediators of family history of alcohol use disorders.