, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 339-347
Date: 27 Mar 2008

Gene-Environment Correlation and Interaction in Peer Effects on Adolescent Alcohol and Tobacco Use


Peer relationships are commonly thought to be critical for adolescent socialization, including the development of negative health behaviors such as alcohol and tobacco use. The interplay between genetic liability and peer influences on the development of adolescent alcohol and tobacco use was examined using a nationally-representative sample of adolescent sibling pairs and their best friends. Genetic factors, some of them related to an adolescent’s own substance use and some of them independent of use, were associated with increased exposure to best friends with heavy substance use—a gene-environment correlation. Moreover, adolescents who were genetically liable to substance use were more vulnerable to the adverse influences of their best friends—a gene-environment interaction.

Edited by Stacey Cherny.