, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 286-296
Date: 05 May 2013

Peer Deviance, Alcohol Expectancies, and Adolescent Alcohol Use: Explaining Shared and Nonshared Environmental Effects Using an Adoptive Sibling Pair Design

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Abstract

Previous research suggests adolescent alcohol use is largely influenced by environmental factors, yet little is known about the specific nature of this influence. We hypothesized that peer deviance and alcohol expectancies would be sources of environmental influence because both have been consistently and strongly correlated with adolescent alcohol use. The sample included 206 genetically related and 407 genetically unrelated sibling pairs assessed in mid-to-late adolescence. The heritability of adolescent alcohol use (e.g., frequency, quantity last 12 months) was minimal and not significantly different from zero. The associations among peer deviance, alcohol expectancies, and alcohol use were primarily due to shared environmental factors. Of special note, alcohol expectancies also significantly explained nonshared environmental influence on alcohol use. This study is one of few that have identified specific environmental variants of adolescent alcohol use while controlling for genetic influence.

Edited by Michael Lyons.