Behavior Genetics

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 374–385 | Cite as

Stability and Change of Genetic and Environmental Effects on the Common Liability to Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis DSM-IV Dependence Symptoms

  • R. H. C. PalmerEmail author
  • S. E. Young
  • R. P. Corley
  • C. J. Hopfer
  • M. C. Stallings
  • J. K. Hewitt
Original Research


This study investigated the stability of genetic and environmental effects on the common liability to alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis dependence across adolescence and young adulthood. DSM-IV symptom counts from 2,361 adolescents were obtained using a structured diagnostic interview. Several sex-limited longitudinal common pathway models were used to examine gender differences in the magnitude of additive genetic (A), shared environment, and non-shared environmental effects over time. Model fitting indicated limited gender differences. Among older adolescents (i.e., age >14), the heritability of the latent trait was estimated at 0.43 (0.05, 0.94) during the first wave and 0.63 (0.21, 0.83) during the second wave of assessment. A common genetic factor could account for genetic influences at both assessments, as well as the majority of the stability of SAV over time [rA = 1.00 (0.55, 1.00)]. These results suggest that early genetic factors continue to play a key role at later developmental stages.


Longitudinal Twin study Tobacco Cannabis Alcohol Drug dependence 



Funding for this study was provided by NIH grants AA021113, MH019927, MH063207, HD010333, AA007464-31, DA011015, and DA021913. We would also like to thank Dr. Nicole R. Nugent of the Division of Behavioral Genetics at Rhode Island Hospital for her input on the MPlus analyses.


This study was funded by NIMH Grants MH019927, and MH063207, NICHD Grant HD010333, NIDA grants DA011015, and DA015522, and NIAAA grant AA021113 (Palmer). Data collection was supported by DA011015. The development and maintenance of the LTS sample was supported by NICHD Grant HD 010333 and MH063207. Individual support for the co-authors was provided by AA021113, DA011015 and DA021913.

Conflict of interest

All of the listed authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.

Supplementary material

10519_2013_9599_MOESM1_ESM.doc (169 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 169 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. H. C. Palmer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • S. E. Young
    • 4
  • R. P. Corley
    • 5
  • C. J. Hopfer
    • 4
  • M. C. Stallings
    • 5
  • J. K. Hewitt
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Behavioral GeneticsRhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research CenterProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.University of Colorado Health Sciences CenterDenverUSA
  5. 5.Institute for Behavioral GeneticsUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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