Behavior Genetics

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 286–296 | Cite as

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

  • Diana R. Samek
  • Margaret A. Keyes
  • William G. Iacono
  • Matt McGue
Original Research


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.


Adolescence Alcohol expectancies Alcohol use Nonshared environment Peer deviance Shared environment 


  1. Adrados JL (1995) The influence of family, school, and peers on adolescent drug misuse. Int J Addict 30(11):1407–1423PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Agrawal A, Dick DM, Bucholz KK, Madden PAF, Cooper ML, Sher KJ, Heath AC (2008) Drinking expectancies and motives: a genetic study of young adult women. Addiction 103:194–204PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agrawal A, Balasubramanian S, Smith EK, Madden PAF, Bucholz KK, Heath AC, Lynskey MT (2010) Peer substance involvement modifies genetic influences on regular substance involvement in young women. Addiction 105:1844–1853PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen M, Donohue MA, Griffin A, Ryan D, Mitchell Turner MM (2003) Comparing the influence of parents and peers on the choice to use drugs: a meta-analytic summary of the literature. Crim Justice Behav 30(2):163–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bahr SJ, Hoffman JP, Yang X (2005) Parental and peer influences on the risk of adolescent drug use. J Prim Prev 26(6):529–551PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baker JH, Maes HM, Kendler KS (2012) Shared environmental contributions to substance use. Behav Genet 42:345–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barnow S, Schultz G, Luct M, Ulrich I, Preuss UW, Freyberger H (2004) Do alcohol expectancies and peer delinquency/substance use mediate the relationship between impulsivity and drinking behavior in adolescence? Alcohol Alcohol 39(3):213–219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bonnie RJ, O’Connell ME, National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, Committee on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking (2004) Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC. Retrieved 1 June 2012 from
  9. Buchanan JP, McGue M, Keyes M, Iacono WG (2009) Are there shared environmental influences on adolescent behavior? Evidence from a study of adoptive siblings. Behav Genet 39:532–540PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burt SA, McGue M, Iacono WG (2009) Nonshared environmental mediation of the association between peer affiliation and adolescent externalizing over time: results from a cross-lagged monozygotic twin differences design. Dev Psychol 45(6):1752–1760PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 59(SS05):1–142. Retrieved 1 June 2012 from
  12. Christiansen BA, Goldman MS (1983) Alcohol-related expectancies versus demographic/background variables in the prediction of adolescent drinking. J Consult Clin Psychol 51(2):249–257PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Christiansen BA, Roehling PV, Smith GT, Goldman MS (1989) Using alcohol expectancies to predict adolescent drinking behavior after one year. J Consult Clin Psych 57(1):93–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Curran PJ, Stice E, Chassin L (1997) The relation between adolescent alcohol use and peer alcohol use: a longitudinal random coefficients model. J Consult Clin Psychol 65(1):130–140PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ellickson PL, Tucker JS, Klein DJ, Saner H (2004) Antecedents and outcomes of marijuana use initiation during adolescence. Prev Med 39:976–984PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Enders CK, Bandalos DL (2001) The relative performance of full information maximum likelihood estimation for missing data in structural equation models. Struct Equ Modeling 8(3):430–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fowler T, Shelton K, Lifford K, Rice F, McBride A, Nivolov I, Neale MC, Harold G, Thapar A, van den Bree MBM (2007) Genetic and environmental influences on the relationship between peer alcohol use and own alcohol use in adolescents. Addiction 102:894–903PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gillespie NA, Neale MC, Jacobson K, Kendler KS (2009) Modeling the genetic and environmental association between peer group deviance and cannabis use in male twins. Addiction 104:420–429PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Han C, McGue MK, Iacono WG (1999) Lifetime tobacco, alcohol and other substance use in adolescent Minnesota twins: univariate and multivariate behavioral genetic analyses. Addiction 94:981–993PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hopfer CJ, Crowley TJ, Hewitt JK (2003) Review of twin and adoption studies of adolescent substance use. J Am Acad Child Psychiatry 42(6):710–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Iannotti RJ, Bush PJ (1992) Perceived vs. actual friends’ use of alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and cocaine: which has the most influence. J Youth Adolesc 21(3):375–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Johnson DR, Young R (2011) Toward best practices in analyzing datasets with missing data: comparisons and recommendations. J Marriage Fam 73:926–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kendler KS, Karkowski L, Prescott CA (1999) Hallucinogen, opiate, sedative and stimulant use and abuse in a population-based sample of female twins. Acta Psychiatr Scand 99:368–376PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kendler KS, Jacobson KC, Gardner CO, Gillespie N, Aggen SA, Prescott CA (2007) Creating a social world: a developmental twin study of peer-group deviance. Arch Gen Psychiatry 64(8):958–965PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kline RB (2005) Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Koopmans JR, Boomsma DI (1996) Familial resemblances in alcohol use: genetic or cultural transmission? J Stud Alcohol 1:19–28Google Scholar
  27. Kuther TL (2002) Rational decision perspectives on alcohol consumption by youth: revising the theory of planned behavior. Addict Behav 27:35–47Google Scholar
  28. Latendresse SJ, Rose RJ, Viken RJ, Pulkkinen L, Kaprio J, Dick D (2010) Examining the etiology of associations between perceived parenting and adolescents’ alcohol use: common genetic and/or environmental liabilities? J Stud Alcohol Drugs 71:313–325PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Lynskey MT, Agrawal A, Health A (2010) Genetically informed research on adolescent substance use: methods, findings, and challenges. J Am Acad Child Psychiatry 49(12):1202–1214Google Scholar
  30. Maes HH, Woodard CE, Murrelle L, Meyer JM, Silberg JL, Hewitt JK, Rutter M, Simonoff E, Pickles A, Carbonneau R, Neale MC, Eaves LJ (1999) Tobacco, alcohol and drug use in eight- to sixteen-year-old twins: the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development. J Stud Alcohol 60:293–305PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. McGue M (1999) The behavior genetics of alcoholism. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 8:109–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McGue M, Elkins I, Iacono WG (2000) Genetic and environmental influences on adolescent substance use and abuse. Am J Med Genet B 96:671–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McGue M, Keyes M, Sharma A, Elkins I, Legrand L, Johnson W, Iacono WG (2007) The environments of adopted and non-adopted youth: evidence on range restriction from the sibling interaction and behavior study (SIBS). Behav Genet 37:449–462PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Miller JW, Naimi TS, Brewer RD, Jone SE (2007) Binge drinking and associated health risk behaviors among high school students. Pediatrics 119(1):76–85PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Muthén B, Muthén L (1998–2012) Mplus Version 6.12. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & MuthénGoogle Scholar
  36. Neale MC, Cardon LR (1992) Methodology for genetic studies of twins and families. Kluwer Academic Publishers, BostonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Newcomb MD, Bentler PM (1989) Substance use and abuse among children and teenagers. Am Psychol 44(2):242–248PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pike A, McGuire S, Hetherington EM, Reiss D, Plomin R (1996) Family environment and adolescent depressive symptoms and antisocial behavior: a multivariate genetic analysis. Dev Psychol 32(4):590–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Prescott CA, Cross RJ, Kuhn JW, Horn JL, Kendler KS (2004) Is risk for alcoholism mediated by individual differences in drinking motivations? Alcohol Clin Exp Res 28(1):29–39PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rende R, Slomkowski C, Lloyd-Richardson E, Niaura R (2005) Sibling effects on substance use in adolescence: social contagion and genetic relatedness. J Fam Psychol 19(4):611–618PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rhee SH, Hewitt JK, Young SE, Corley RP, Crowley TJ, Stallings MC (2003) Genetic and environmental influences on substance initiation, use, and problem use in adolescents. Arch Gen Psychiatry 60:1256–1264PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rose RJ, Dick DM, Viken RJ, Pulkkinen L, Kaprio J (2001) Drinking or abstaining at age 14? A genetic epidemiological study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 25(11):1594–1604PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rutter M, Silberg J (2002) Gene-environment interplay in relation to emotional and behavioral disturbance. Annu Rev Psychol 53:905–913CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Samek DR, Rueter MA (2011) Considerations of elder sibling closeness in predicting younger sibling substance use: social learning versus social bonding explanations. J Fam Psychol 25(6):931–941PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Scarr S, McCartney K (1983) How people make their own environments: a theory of genotype greater than environment effects. Child Dev 54(2):424–435PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Schafer J, Brown SA (1991) Marijuana and cocaine effect expectancies and drug use patterns. J Consult Clin Psychol 59(4):558–565PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sher KJ, Wood MD, Wood PK, Raskin G (1996) Alcohol outcome expectancies and alcohol use: a latent variable cross-lagged panel study. J Abnorm Psychol 105(4):561–574PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Simons-Morton B, Chen R, Abroms L, Haynie DL (2004) Latent growth curve analyses of peer and parent influences on smoking progression among early adolescents. Health Psychol 23(6):612–621PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Slomkowski C, Rende R, Novak S, Lloyd-Richardson E, Niaura R (2005) Sibling effects on smoking in adolescence: evidence for social influence from a genetically informative design. Addiction 100:430–438PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Slutske WS, Cronk NJ, Sher KJ, Madden PAF, Bucholz KK, Heath AC (2002) Genes, environment, and individual differences in alcohol expectancies among female adolescents and young adults. Psychol Addict Behav 16(4):308–317PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Turkheimer E, Waldron M (2000) Nonshared environment: a theoretical, methodological, and quantitative review. Psychol Bull 126(1):78–108PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vernon PA, Lee D, Harris JA, Jang KL (1996) Genetic and environmental contributions to individual differences in alcohol expectancies. Pers Individ Differ 21(2):183–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Walden B, McGue M, Iacono WG, Burt SA, Elkins I (2004) Identifying shared environmental contributions to early substance use: the respective roles of peers and parents. J Abnorm Psychol 113(3):440–450PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zamboanga B, Schwartz SJ, Ham LS, Jarvis LH, Olthuis J (2009) Do alcohol expectancy outcomes and valuations mediate peer influences and lifetime alcohol use among early adolescents? J Genet Psychol 170(4):359–376PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana R. Samek
    • 1
  • Margaret A. Keyes
    • 1
  • William G. Iacono
    • 1
  • Matt McGue
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations