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Heritability of alcohol dependence is similar in women and men

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How do genetic and environmental factors influence alcoholism in women?


13 595 female twins and 10 524 male twins aged 20–47 years, born in Sweden between 1959 and 1985. The study included monozygotic and same- and opposite-sex dizygotic twins, who were taking part in the Study of Twin Adults: Genes and Environment (STAGE). Participants were identified using the Swedish Twin Registry.


Sweden; 2005.

Risk factors

Genetic and environmental factors; gender; and childhood trauma (measured using the self-completed Life Stressor Checklist, LSC-R). A basic twin model was used to quantify genetic and environmental effects. Heritability (genetic effects) was compared in male and females. Childhood trauma was only assessed in women, and included emotional neglect, physical and sexual trauma.


Lifetime diagnosis of alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence, established using a standardised, computer-assisted Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Alcoholism was classified as late onset (type I) or early onset (type II) alcoholism, based on the revised Cloninger-Bohman criteria. …

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