Effects of Genetics and Environment on Substance Abuse

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Effects of Genetics and Environment on Substance Abuse Human Growth and Development 11/30/11
Abstract

Previous research has shown direct links between environmental factors and substance use in adolescents, while the link between genetic factors and substance abuse may only be inferred. The current research further investigates the correlation between genetic and environmental factors and substance abuse in adolescents. The results showed overwhelming evidence that genetics can predispose adolescents to substance abuse and illustrated the environmental factors that lead to substance abuse. Further research should be conducted in both areas of investigation.
Genetic and Environmental Factors Influence Substance Abuse in Adolescence
As defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV 2000), substance abuse is a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. This paper will examine the effects of genetic and environmental factors on substance abuse in adolescents. It will investigate whether an addiction problem can be passed on to a child through genetics. The paper will also examine role of environmental factors such as familial and friend relationships to see what role, if any, they may play in substance abuse. Previous research was conducted on parent drug use, parent personality, and the effect they have on parenting. The participants were involved in a longitudinal study that began in 1975 and at it's beginning the participants ranged in age from one to ten years of age. The study is focusing on seventy-one, (fifty-one women and twenty-men) of these original participants all of whom now have children. The participants completed a self-administered questionnaire, which focused on personality, family, peer, demographic, and drug use in depth. They also completed child-rearing questions in regard to their eldest child. Multi-item scales were used for drug use, parent personality, and the effects they have on parenting. The research showed that parent personality and parent drug use had significant effects on most parent-child variables. (Brook, Whiteman, Balka, & Cohen, 2001, pgs.139-149). The research conducted on parent drug use, parent personality, and the effects they have on parenting showed that parent drug use and parent personality have an effect on parent-child relationships and parenting (Brook, Whiteman, Balka, & Cohen, 2001, pgs. 137-151). The research conducted supports my thesis that environmental factors, such as parent-child relationships, have an effect on substance abuse in adolescents. The study suggests that parent drug use and personality may have negative effects on the relationship they have with their child which could lead to their child using substances. Furthermore, if a parent is a drug user it may be a behavior that an adolescent learns and imitates. Although this study did not focus on the genetic aspects of substance abuse, it can be inferred that of those parents who were drug users their children may also be more genetically susceptible to using drugs, especially if a mother was using drugs during her pregnancy.

Research was previously conducted on genetic and environmental risks for adolescent substance abuse to see if it was linked to individual substances or general across substances; the results showed that cross-substance. The experiment was conducted on one 1,347 adolescent twins (645 monozygotic and 702 dizygotic), 429 biological sibling pairs, and 96 adoptive sibling pairs. In order to assess substance use, the experimenters used the CIDI-SAM (Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Substance Abuse Module) and the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition) and conducted psychiatric interviews. The study found that cross-substance correlation was prevalent among twins and biological siblings. However, the correlation between...
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