Genetic Determinants of Alcohol Addiction

  • Donald W. Goodwin
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 56)


Alcoholism, like schizophrenia, depression, and some other psychiatric conditions, tends to run in families. In studying a familial disorder, it is important to determine whether the illness is influenced by heredity. Some maintain that truly separating “nature” from “nurture” is impossible, but nevertheless, through the years, there have been a number of studies and much speculation concerning a possible role of heredity in alcoholism.


Alcohol Problem Genetic Determinant Biological Parent Dizygotic Twin Foster Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Wolff, P.H., Ethnic differences in alcohol sensitivity. Science 175: 449–450, 1972.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ewing, J., Rouse, B.A. and Pellizzari, E.D. Alcohol sensitivity and ethnic background. Am. J. Psychiat. 131: 206–210, 1974.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fenna, D., Mix, L., Schaefer, O. and Gilbert, J.A.L. Ethanol metabolism in various racial groups. Canad. M.A. J. 105: 472–475, 1971.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Goodwin, D.W. Is alcoholism hereditary? A review and critique. Arch. of Gen. Psychiat. 25: 545–549, 1971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rybakow, T. Alkoholismus und Erblichkeit. Mschr. Psychiat. Neurol. 20 (suppl.): 221, 1906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kraepelin, E. Psychiatrie, (ed.) 8. Leipzig, J.A. Barth, Vol. 2, 1910.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Binswanger, L. Alkoholismus, Neue Deutsche Klinik. Vol. 1, Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin, 1928.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Luxenburger, H. Demographische und psychiatrische Untersuchungen in der engeren biologischen Familie von Paralytikerehegatten. Z Ges. Neurot. Psychiat. 112: 331, 1928.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bleuler, M. Psychotische Belastung von korperlich Kranken. Z. Ges. Neurol. Psychiat. 142: 780, 1932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sjogren, T. Genetic-statistical and psychiatric investigations of a west Swedish population. Acta Psychiat. Neurol. (suppl) 52, 1948.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fremming, K.H. Sygdomsrisikoen for Sindslidelser og andre sjaeledige Abnormtilstande i den danske Gennemsnitsbefolkning. Ejnar Munksgaard, Copenhagen, 1947.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Slater, E. The incidence of mental disorder. Ann. Eugenics 6: 172, 1935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Boss, M. Zur Frage der erbbiologischen Bedeutung des Alkohols. Mschr. Psychiat. Neurol. 72: 264, 1929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Pohlisch, K. Soziale und personliche Bedingungen des chronischen Alcoholismus, in Sammlung psychiatrischer und neurologischer Einzeldarstellungen. Leipzig, Germany, G. Thieme Verlag, 1933.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Brugger, C. Familienuntersuchungen bei Alkoholdeliranten. Z. Ges. Neurol. Psychiat. 151: 740, 1934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Amark, C. A study in alcoholism: clinical, social-psychiatric and genetic investigations. Acta Psychiat. Neurol. Scand. (suppl) 70, 1951.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Gregory, I. Family data concerning the hypothesis of hereditary predisposition toward alcoholism. J. Ment. Sci. 106: 1068, 1960.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Winokur, G. and Clayton, P.J. Family history studies: IV. Comparison of male and female alcoholics. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol 29: 885–891, 1968.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Dahlberg, G. and Stenberg, S. Alkoholismen som Samhalisproblem. Stockholm, Oskar Eklunds, 1934.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Winokur, G., Reich, T. Rimmer, J. et al. Alcoholism: III. Diagnosis and familial psychiatric illness in 259 alcoholic probands. Arch. Gen. Psychiat. 23: 104–111, 1970.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rimmer, J. and Chambers, D.S. Alcoholism: Methodological considerations in the study of family illness. Amer. J. Orthopsychiat. 39: 760–768, 1969.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kroon, H.M. Die Erblichkeit der Trunksucht in der Familie X. Genetica 6: 391, 1924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Guze, S., Wolfgram, E. and McKinney, J. Psychiatric illness in the families of convicted criminals: A study of 519 first degree relatives. Dis. Nerv. Sys. 28: 651–659, 1967.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kaij, L., Alcoholism in twins. Studies on the etiology and sequels of abuse of alcohol, Department of Psychiatry, University of Lund, Almqvist Wiksell, Lund, 1960.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Partanen, J., Bruun, K. and Markkanen, T. Inheritance of Drinking Behavior. Rutgers University Center of Alcohol Studies, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1966.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Roe, A. and Burks, B. Adult adjustment of foster children of alcoholic and psychotic parentage and the influence of the former home. Memoirs of the Section on Alcohol Studies, Yale University No. 3, Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol, New Haven, 1945.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Goodwin, D.W., Schulsinger, F., Hermansen, L., Guze, S.B. and Winokur G. Alcohol problems in adoptees raised apart from alcoholic biological parents. Arch. of Gen. Psychiat. 28: 238–243, 1973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Feighner, J.P. et al. Diagnostic criteria for use in psychiatric research. Arch. Gen. Psychiat. 26: 57–63, 1972.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Schuckit, M.A., Goodwin, D.W. and Winokur, G. A study of alcoholism in half siblings. Am. J. Psychiat. 128: 12 2126, 1972.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Nordmo, S.H. Blood groups in schizophrenia, alcoholism and mental deficiency. Am. J. Psychiat. 116: 460, 1959.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Achte, K. Korreloituvatko ABO-veriryhmat ja alkoholismi (Correlation of ABO blood groups with alcoholism). Duodecim. 74: 20, 1958.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Camps, F.E. and Dodd, B.E. Increase in the incidence of nonsecretors of ABH blood group substances among alcoholic patients. Brit. J. Med. 1: 30, 1967.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Peeples, E.E.Taste Sensitivity to Phenylthiocarbamide in Alcoholics,Master’s thesis. Stetson University, Deland, Fla., 1962.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Cruz-Coke, R. and Varela, A. Inheritance of alcoholism. Lancet 2: 1282, 1966.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Fialkow, P.J., Thuline, M.C. and Fenster, R.F. Lack of association between cirrhosis of the liver and the common types of color blindness. New Eng. J. Med. 275: 584, 1966.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Thuline, M.C. Colour blindness and alcoholism. Lancet 1: 274, 1967.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Dittrich, H., Neubauer, 0. Storungen des Farbsehens bei Leberkrankheiten Munchen Med. Wschr. 109: 2690, 1967.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Popham, R.E., DeLint, J.E.E. and Schmidt, W. Inheritance of Drinking Behavior. Alkoholpolitik, No. 3, 1967.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Hebb, D.O. A Textbook of Psychology. W.B. Saunders, Co., Philadelphia, 1958.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Goldstein, A. Biostatistics: An Introductory Text. The MacMillan Company, New York, 1964.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Varela, A., Rivera, L., Mardones, J. et al. Color vision defects in non-alcoholic relatives of alcoholic patients. Brit. J. Addict. 64: 67–73, 1969.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Winokur, G. X-Borne recessive genes in alcoholism, letters to the editor. Lancet 2: 466, 1967.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald W. Goodwin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations