Parent, sibling and peer associations with subtypes of psychiatric and substance use disorder comorbidity in offspring.

Research paper by Vivia V VV McCutcheon, Jeffrey F JF Scherrer, Julia D JD Grant, Hong H Xian, Jon Randolph JR Haber, Theodore T Jacob, Kathleen K KK Bucholz

Indexed on: 28 Aug '12Published on: 28 Aug '12Published in: Drug and Alcohol Dependence


Parental substance use disorder (SUD) is associated with a range of negative offspring outcomes and psychopathology, but the clustering of these outcomes into subtypes has seldom been examined, nor have the familial and environmental contexts of these subtypes been reported. The present study examines the clustering of offspring lifetime substance use and psychiatric disorders into subtypes and characterizes them in terms of familial and non-familial influences using an offspring-of-twins design.Telephone-administered diagnostic interviews were used to collect data on psychiatric disorders and SUD from 488 twin fathers, 420 biological mothers and 831 offspring. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to derive subtypes of lifetime comorbidity in offspring. Familial risk and environmental variables associated with each subtype (i.e., parenting, childhood physical or sexual abuse, perceived sibling and peer substance use) were identified using multinomial logistic regression.Four classes identified by LCA were characterized as (1) unaffected, (2) alcohol abuse/dependence, (3) alcohol abuse/dependence comorbid with anxiety and depression, and (4) alcohol, cannabis abuse/dependence and nicotine dependence comorbid with conduct disorder. Inconsistent parenting, childhood physical/sexual abuse, and perceived sibling and peer substance use were significantly associated with profiles of offspring comorbidity after adjusting for familial vulnerability. Some associations were specific (i.e., perceived peer alcohol use to the AUD class), while others were general (peer smoking to all 3 comorbidity classes).We observed distinct subtypes of psychiatric and SUD comorbidity in adolescents and young adults. Subtypes of offspring psychopathology have varied associations with parental psychopathology, family environment, and sibling and peer behaviors.

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