The Risk of Offspring Developing Substance Use Disorders when Exposed to One versus Two Parents with Alcohol Use Disorder: A Register-based Prospective Cohort Study

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Background: Few population-based studies have investigated associations between having one or two parents with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and the risk of substance use disorders (SUD) in the offspring. Moreover, these studies have solely focused on AUD in the offspring and not SUD in general. The aim of this study was to investigate the risk of SUD in offspring when exposed to one versus two parents with AUD.
Methods: A population-based, prospective cohort study with 398,881 offspring’s born in Denmark within 1983-1989 was followed until 2011. Register-data was obtained from the following data-bases: the Civil Registration System, the Psychiatric Central Research Register, the National Patient Registry, the National Prescription Registry, the Fertility Database, and the Cause of Death Register. Adjusted hazard ratios (AHR) were calculated using multivariate Cox-regression models.
Results: In all, 10.3 % of the cohort had at least one parent with AUD. We found a significant association between parental AUD and SUD in the offspring; with offspring of one AUD parent having a 1.8-fold increase (AHR = 1.82; 95% CL, 1.71-1.93) and offspring of two AUD parents having a 2.7-fold increase (AHR = 2.67; 95% CI, 2.32-3.08) in the hazard ratios of SUD.
Conclusion: Offspring’s of AUD parents had increased risks of SUD, with an additive parental risk of their offspring developing a SUD. This knowledge could have conceptual as well as practical implications in the clinical assessment, interventions and management of offspring exposed to parental AUD.

Keywords: Alcohol Use Disorder, Family History, Parental, Offspring, Substance Use Disorder

Original languageDanish
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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