Does exposure to parental substance use disorders increase substance use disorder risk in offspring? A 5-year follow-up study.

Research paper by Amy M AM Yule, Timothy E TE Wilens, Mary Kate MK Martelon, Andrew A Simon, Joseph J Biederman

Indexed on: 21 Aug '13Published on: 21 Aug '13Published in: The American Journal on Addictions


This study examined the impact of exposure to parental substance use disorders (SUD) (alcohol or drug abuse or dependence) on the development of SUD in offspring.The original sample was derived from pediatric and psychiatric ascertained females 6-17 years old with (N = 140) and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD; N = 122). At baseline, these groups had 143 and 131 biological siblings and 274 and 238 parents, respectively. All subjects and their family members were comprehensively and blindly assessed by structured psychiatric interviews for psychopathology and substance use. The female probands and their siblings were reassessed after a follow-up period of 5 years.At follow-up the mean age of offspring was 17.9 ± 4.20 years. Independently of ADHD, familial risk, and socioeconomic status, exposure to maternal drug use disorders, but not paternal drug use disorders, was significantly associated with the development of a drug use disorder in offspring (OR: 7.04; p = 0.03). There was a significant association between exposure to parental SUD during adolescence (relative to preschool or latency years) and SUD in offspring (OR: 3.61; p = 0.03).Exposure to maternal drug use disorders during adolescent years increased the risk for the development of a drug use disorder in a sample of females with and without ADHD and their siblings. Exposure to parental SUD during adolescence specifically increases the risk of SUD development in offspring.