Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Predictors of Increases in Alcohol Problems and Alcohol Use Disorders in Offspring in the San Diego Prospective Study.



The 35-year-long San Diego Prospective Study documented 2-fold increases in alcohol problems and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) in young-adult drinking offspring compared to rates in their fathers, the original probands. The current analyses use the same interviews and questionnaires at about the same age in members of the 2 generations to explore multiple potential contributors to the generational differences in adverse alcohol outcomes.


Using data from recent offspring interviews, multiple cross-generation differences in characteristics potentially related to alcohol problems were evaluated in 3 steps: first through direct comparisons across probands and offspring at about age 30; second by backward linear regression analyses of predictors of alcohol problems within each generation; and finally third through R-based bootstrapped linear regressions of differences in alcohol problems in randomly matched probands and offspring.


The analyses across the analytical approaches revealed 3 consistent predictors of higher alcohol problems in the second generation. These included the following: (i) a more robust relationship to alcohol problems for offspring with a low level of response to alcohol; (ii) higher offspring values for alcohol expectancies; and (iii) higher offspring impulsivity.


The availability of data across generations offered a unique perspective for studying characteristics that may have contributed to a general finding in the literature of substantial increases in alcohol problems and AUDs in recent generations. If replicated, these results could suggest approaches to be used by parents, healthcare workers, insurance companies, and industry in their efforts to mitigate the increasing rates of alcohol problems in younger generations.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View