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From alcohol initiation to tolerance to problems: Discordant twin modeling of a developmental process

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 July 2016

Arielle R. Deutsch*
Affiliation:
University of Missouri–Columbia Washington University School of Medicine
Wendy S. Slutske
Affiliation:
University of Missouri–Columbia Washington University School of Medicine
Michael T. Lynskey
Affiliation:
Washington University School of Medicine King's College London
Kathleen K. Bucholz
Affiliation:
Washington University School of Medicine
Pamela A. F. Madden
Affiliation:
Washington University School of Medicine
Andrew C. Heath
Affiliation:
Washington University School of Medicine
Nicholas G. Martin
Affiliation:
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
*
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Arielle R. Deutsch, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri–Columbia, 112 Psychology Building, Columbia, MO 65211; E-mail: arielle.deutsch@gmail.com.

Abstract

The current study examined a stage-based alcohol use trajectory model to test for potential causal effects of earlier drinking milestones on later drinking milestones in a combined sample of two cohorts of Australian monozygotic and same-sex dizygotic twins (N = 7,398, age M = 30.46, SD = 2.61, 61% male, 56% monozygotic twins). Ages of drinking, drunkenness, regular drinking, tolerance, first nontolerance alcohol use disorder symptom, and alcohol use disorder symptom onsets were assessed retrospectively. Ages of milestone attainment (i.e., age-of-onset) and time between milestones (i.e., time-to-event) were examined via frailty models within a multilevel discordant twin design. For age-of-onset models, earlier ages of onset of antecedent drinking milestones increased hazards for earlier ages of onset for more proximal subsequent drinking milestones. For the time-to-event models, however, earlier ages of onset for the “starting” milestone decreased risk for a shorter time period between the starting and the “ending” milestone. Earlier age of onset of intermediate milestones between starting and ending drinking milestones had the opposite effect, increasing risk for a shorter time period between the starting and ending milestones. These results are consistent with a causal effect of an earlier age of drinking milestone onset on temporally proximal subsequent drinking milestones.

Type
Regular Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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Footnotes

This work was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant DA18267 and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Grants AA07728 and AA023133. We thank Leah Richmond-Rackerd for her feedback on the manuscript; Dixie Statham for coordinating the data collection for the twins; and David Smyth, Olivia Zheng, and Harry Beeby for data management of the Australian Twin Registry. We thank the Australian Twin Registry twins for their continued participation.

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