Research & Resources

Characterizing Alcohol Expectancies in the ABCD Study: Associations with Sociodemographic Factors, the Immediate Social Environment, and Genetic Propensities

While alcohol expectancies (AEs) are associated with likelihood of alcohol initiation and subsequent alcohol use disorders, it is unclear whether genetic predisposition to alcohol use or related traits contributes to shaping one’s AEs. Researchers used the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study (ABCD Study®) to examine associations between genetic propensities (i.e., polygenic risk for problematic alcohol use, depression, or risk-taking), sociodemographic factors (i.e., parent income), and immediate social environment (i.e., peer use and disapproval of alcohol use) and positive and negative AEs in alcohol-naive children. Mixed-effect regression models showed that age, parental education, importance of the child’s religious beliefs, adverse childhood experiences, and peer disapproval of alcohol use were associated with positive or negative AEs, to varying degrees. Results suggested several familial and psychosocial predictors of AEs, but little evidence of contributions from polygenic liability to problematic alcohol use or related phenotypes.

This paper, “Characterizing alcohol expectancies in the ABCD Study: Associations with sociodemographic factors, the immediate social environment, and genetic propensities,” was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the journal Behavior genetics.

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