Behavior Genetics

, 36:201 | Cite as

Alcohol, Tobacco and Caffeine Use: Spouse Similarity Processes

  • Chandra A. Reynolds
  • Tracy Barlow
  • Nancy L. Pedersen


Spouse similarity research has been largely descriptive yet is of theoretical and empirical importance to understanding individual differences in substance use. The present study considers phenotypic assortment versus social homogamy processes for alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine consumption traits using an extended twin-spouse design. Whereas both assortment processes were supported for quantity of alcohol consumed, phenotypic assortment was supported for quantity of tobacco and caffeine consumed, and social homogamy for tobacco use status. Moderate heritable influences were found for all traits though no shared environmental influences were found beyond those due to social background influences, i.e. those pertaining to social homogamy. Swedish government policies in effect at the time of marriage selection may explain the presence of social homogamy for quantity of alcohol versus quantity of tobacco and caffeine consumed. Social homogamy may be more important for some substance use traits such as alcohol consumption and tobacco use status but not others.


Phenotypic assortment social homogamy spouses substance use twins 



The Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging (SATSA) is supported by NIA (AG04563, AG10175), The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging, and the Swedish Council for Social Research (97:0147:1B). The twin-family study “Genetic and Environmental Factors Affecting Smoking Behavior”, D.W. Crumpacker, PI, was originally supported by the Council for Tobacco Research, grant CTR 1066. The present analytical work was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA11986).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chandra A. Reynolds
    • 1
  • Tracy Barlow
    • 1
  • Nancy L. Pedersen
    • 2
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Karolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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