Research & Resources

Family History and Alcohol Use Outcomes: Examining Transmission of Risk Through Impulsivity and the Moderating Role of Organized Sports Participation

This study examined the associations between family history of alcohol problems (FH), alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms, the role of UPPS-P (urgency, premeditation, perseverance, sensation seeking, and positive urgency) impulsivity dimensions in mediating the association between FH and alcohol use outcomes, and whether these associations vary by students’ organized sports participation. A total of 3,959 participants were recruited from a large public university and completed an online survey in the fall and spring semesters of their first year in college. FH was associated with higher levels of alcohol consumption and more AUD symptoms. Lack of premeditation, lack of perseverance, and negative urgency—i.e., impulsive risk-taking behavior—partially mediated the associations between FH and alcohol consumption and AUD symptoms. The association between negative urgency and AUD symptoms was stronger for organized sports participants. Researchers proposed that prevention and intervention efforts aimed at reducing problematic alcohol use should target impulsivity generally, and negative urgency particularly among college students who participate in organized sports.

This paper, “Family history and alcohol use outcomes: Examining transmission of risk through impulsivity and the moderating role of organized sports participation,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and published in the journal Substance use & misuse.

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