Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 23:12 (December, 1999), pp. 1884-1891.

doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1999.tb04087.x


Copyright © 1999 by the Research Society on Alcoholism. Published by Wiley. Used by permission.


Background: This study examines the relations between birth cohort, gender, and family history of alcohol problems on alcohol dependence, and on the endorsement of alcohol abuse/dependence symptoms related to antisocial behavior. Methods: Men (n = 1365) and women (n = 625) were recruited from the community, hospitals, and other treatment sites and were given a structured diagnostic interview. Data were analyzed by using logistic regression. Results: Age of first regular alcohol use was lower in more recent birth cohorts for both men and women, with those born in the most recent cohort reporting earliest regular use. The decline across cohort was more dramatic in women than in men. For those participants with a diagnosis of alcohol dependence, being born in a more recent cohort was associated with increased risk of dependence onset before age 25. Among those participants with onset of alcohol dependence before age 25 (nmen = 400; nwomen = 51), being born in a more recent cohort was associated with increased risk of fights while drinking, police involvement, and drunk driving trouble as well as with increased risk for a diagnosis of abuse or dependence on another drug. Conclusions: These results suggest that the prevalence of antisocial alcoholism may be increasing for both men and women. These data exemplify how societal change may affect expression of underlying vulnerability for traits thought to be genetically influenced.

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