BACKGROUND: Genetic and environmental factors contribute about equally to alcohol-related phenotypes in adulthood. In the present study, we examined whether more stress at home or low satisfaction with life might be associated with heavier drinking or more alcohol-related problems in individuals with a high genetic susceptibility to alcohol use.
METHODS: Information on polygenic scores and drinking behavior was available in 6705 adults (65% female; 18-83 years) registered with the Netherlands Twin Register. Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) were constructed for all subjects based on the summary statistics of a large genome-wide association meta-analysis on alcohol consumption (grams per day). Outcome measures were quantity of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Stress at home and life satisfaction were moderating variables whose significance was tested by Generalized Estimating Equation analyses taking familial relatedness, age and sex into account.
RESULTS: PRSs for alcohol were significantly associated with quantity of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems in the past year (R2=0.11% and 0.10% respectively). Participants who reported to have experienced more stress in the past year and lower life satisfaction, scored higher on alcohol-related problems (R2=0.27% and 0.29 respectively), but not on alcohol consumption. Stress and life satisfaction did not moderate the association between PRSs and the alcohol outcome measures.
CONCLUSIONS: There were significant main effects of polygenic scores and of stress and life satisfaction on drinking behavior, but there was no support for PRS-by-stress or PRS-by-life satisfaction interactions on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems.
- Journal Article