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Problems With Alcohol Use Less Likely in Religious Teens

by Kathy Jones on June 22, 2010 at 11:17 PM
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 Problems  With  Alcohol Use Less Likely in Religious  Teens

A new study says that religiosity can moderate genetic effects on problem alcohol use during adolescence.

The heritability of an alcohol-related phenotype (measurable and/or observable traits or behaviours) depends upon the social environment within which it is measured, such as urbanicity, marital status, or religiosity.

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"People with a religious background may be less likely to express alcohol-related phenotypes than those from nonreligious backgrounds. Furthermore, the influence of genes on these phenotypes also varies according to social background. We also know that genes play a more important role in alcohol-related phenotypes in people from urban backgrounds, unmarried women, and nonreligious individuals than those from rural backgrounds, married women, or those with a religious upbringing," says Tanya M.M. Button, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder and corresponding author for the study.

Button and her colleagues examined 1,432 twin pairs: categorized as identical or monozygotic (MZ) if they had similar physical characteristics and were concordant on all markers; and fraternal or dizygotic (DZ) if they presented with dissimilar physical characteristics and were discordant on any of the markers.
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"Our study showed that genetic factors could influence problem alcohol use more in nonreligious adolescents than adolescents with a greater religious outlook," said Button.

"Thus, adolescents who are raised to value religious concepts are less likely to develop problems with alcohol use, even in the presence of a genetic predisposition for doing so," she concluded.

Results will be published in the September 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

Source: ANI
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