Research & Resources

The relationship between genetics and neighborhoods on risky behavior

Researchers examined the connection between (a) the physical and social dynamics of a neighborhood and genetic risk factors and (b) markers of alcohol use disorder (e.g., drinking without parental approval) in African American adolescents. They measured how people’s reactions to social stress can relate to the development of alcohol-related problems. Overall, family stress, experiences of discrimination, and genetics, rather than factors related to the physical neighborhood, were associated with the markers of alcohol use disorder. However, researchers also found significant interactions between family stress and neighborhood factors (such as violence) in the transition to problematic alcohol use. Their findings underscore the recommendation for holistic prevention programs for adolescents who live in economically disadvantaged areas.The paper, “Evaluating Neighborhood, Social, and Genetic Influences on Precursors of Alcohol Use Risk Behavior in African American Adolescents,” was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
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