Behavior Genetics

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 345–353

Shared Environmental Contributions to Substance Use

  • Jessica H. Baker
  • Hermine H. Maes
  • Kenneth S. Kendler
Original Research


The current study examined the association between substance use in the household during childhood, parental attitudes towards substance use and lifetime substance use in males. Subjects included 1081 monozygotic and 707 dizygotic twins from the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders. Retrospective reports of substance use and features of the family environment (adult household substance use and parental attitudes towards substance use) were obtained using a life history interview. A trivariate Cholesky decomposition was conducted using the program Mx to decompose common shared environmental variance. Findings suggest that family environmental factors accounted for a large proportion of the shared environmental effects for illicit drug use. Results illustrate an important way of extending behavior genetic research to reveal specific etiological environmental mechanisms.


Substance use Shared environment Family environment Twins Twin study 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica H. Baker
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hermine H. Maes
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kenneth S. Kendler
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryVirginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavior Genetics, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human & Molecular GeneticsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  4. 4.Massey Cancer CenterVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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