Background: Alcohol consumption and problems are associated with interpersonal difficulties. We used a twin design to assess in men the degree to which genetic or environmental influences contributed to the covariance between alcohol consumption and problems, romantic quality and social support.
Method: The sample included adult male-male twin pairs (697 monozygotic and 487 dizygotic) for whom there were interview-based data on: alcohol consumption (average monthly alcohol consumption in the past year); alcohol problems (lifetime alcohol dependence symptoms); romantic conflict and warmth; friend problems and support; and relative problems and support.
Results: Key findings were that genetic and unique environmental factors contributed to the covariance between alcohol consumption and romantic conflict; genetic factors contributed to the covariance between alcohol problems and romantic conflict; and common and unique environmental factors contributed to the covariance between alcohol problems and friend problems.
Conclusions: Recognizing and addressing the overlapping genetic and environmental influences that alcohol consumption and problems share with romantic quality and other indicators of social support may have implications for substance use prevention and intervention efforts.
Keywords: Alcohol; gene-environment correlation; marital quality; social support.