This study examined the heritability of problem drinking and investigated the phenotypic and genetic relationships between problem drinking and personality. In a sample of 5,870 twins and siblings and 4,420 additional family members from the Netherlands Twin Register. Data on problem drinking (assessed with the AUDIT and CAGE; 12 items) and personality [NEO Five-Factor Inventory (FFI); 60 items] were collected in 2009/2010 by surveys. Confirmatory factor analysis on the AUDIT and CAGE items showed that the items clustered on two separate but highly correlated (r = 0.74) underlying factors. A higher-order factor was extracted that reflected those aspects of problem drinking that are common to the AUDIT and CAGE, which showed a heritability of 40%. The correlations between problem drinking and the five dimensions of personality were small but significant, ranging from 0.06 for Extraversion to -0.12 for Conscientiousness. All personality dimensions (with broad-sense heritabilities between 32 and 55%, and some evidence for non-additive genetic influences) were genetically correlated with problem drinking. The genetic correlations were small to modest (between |0.12| and |0.41|). Future studies with longitudinal data and DNA polymorphisms are needed to determine the biological mechanisms that underlie the genetic link between problem drinking and personality © 2011 de Moor, Vink, van Beek, Geels, Bartels, de Geus, Willemsen and Boomsma.
de Moor, M. H. M., Vink, K., van Beek, J. H. D. A., Geels, L. M., Bartels, M., de Geus, E. J. C., ... Boomsma, D. I. (2011). Heritability of problem drinking and the genetic overlap with personality in a general population sample. Frontiers in Genetics, 2, 76. https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2011.00076