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Gender-specific gene-environment interaction in alcohol dependence: the impact of daily life events and GABRA2.

  • Author(s): Perry, Brea L;
  • Pescosolido, Bernice A;
  • Bucholz, Kathleen;
  • Edenberg, Howard;
  • Kramer, John;
  • Kuperman, Samuel;
  • Schuckit, Marc Alan;
  • Nurnberger, John I
  • et al.

Gender-moderated gene-environment interactions are rarely explored, raising concerns about inaccurate specification of etiological models and inferential errors. The current study examined the influence of gender, negative and positive daily life events, and GABRA2 genotype (SNP rs279871) on alcohol dependence, testing two- and three-way interactions between these variables using multi-level regression models fit to data from 2,281 White participants in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism. Significant direct effects of variables of interest were identified, as well as gender-specific moderation of genetic risk on this SNP by social experiences. Higher levels of positive life events were protective for men with the high-risk genotype, but not among men with the low-risk genotype or women, regardless of genotype. Our findings support the disinhibition theory of alcohol dependence, suggesting that gender differences in social norms, constraints and opportunities, and behavioral undercontrol may explain men and women's distinct patterns of association.

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