Polygenic and environmental influences on the course of African Americans' alcohol use from early adolescence through young adulthood

Jill Rabinowitz, Rashelle Jean Musci, Beth Reboussin, Adam J. Milam, Kelly Benke, George R. Uhl, Danielle Y. Sisto, Nicholas S Ialongo, Brion Maher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The study examined (a) whether alcohol use subgroups could be identified among African Americans assessed from adolescence through early adulthood, and (b) whether subgroup membership was associated with the interaction between internalizing symptoms and antisocial behavior polygenic risk scores (PRSs) and environmental characteristics (i.e., parental monitoring, community disadvantage). Participants (N = 436) were initially recruited for an elementary school-based prevention trial in a Mid-Atlantic city. Youths reported on the frequency of their past year alcohol use from ages 14-26. DNA was obtained from participants at age 21. Internalizing symptoms and antisocial behavior PRSs were created based on a genome-wide association study (GWAS) conducted by Benke et al. (2014) and Tielbeek et al. (2017), respectively. Parental monitoring and community disadvantage were assessed at age 12. Four classes of past year alcohol use were identified: (a) early-onset, increasing; (b) late-onset, moderate use; (c) low steady; and (d) early-onset, decreasing. In high community disadvantaged settings, participants with a higher internalizing symptoms PRS were more likely to be in the early-onset, decreasing class than the low steady class. When exposed to elevated community disadvantage, participants with a higher antisocial behavior PRS were more likely to be in the early-onset, increasing class than the early-onset, decreasing and late-onset, moderate use classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • alcohol use classes
  • antisocial behavior polygenic risk score
  • community disadvantage
  • internalizing symptoms polygenic risk score
  • parental monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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