Common genetic mechanisms in alcohol, drug, and mental disorder comorbidity

Roy W. Pickens, Dace S. Svikis, Matt McGue, Michele C. LaBuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Comorbid drug and mental disorders were assessed in 63 monozygotic (MZ) and 67 dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs. DSM-III alcohol dependence was heritable in males when probands had a comorbid DSM-III drug or mental disorder but not when probands had only alcohol dependence. For males, significantly higher cross-MZ than cross-DZ correlations were found between alcohol dependence in probands and certain mental and drug disorders in cotwins. In contrast, females showed higher within-twin than cross-MZ correlations and similar cross-MZ and cross-DZ correlations between alcohol dependence and all mental and drug disorders. These results suggest comorbidity between alcohol and certain drug and mental disorders in males in epidemiological surveys may be due in part to genetic influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This researchw ass upportedin part by the Hazelden Foundation, Center City, MN, Public Health Service extramuralr esearchg rants AA 06500a nd AA00175 and the Division of IntramuralR esearchN, ational In-stituteo n Drug Abuse. David T. Lykken, Leonard L. Heston,P aula J. Clayton,I rving I. GottesmanG, regory Careya nd FrancesG abbayc ontributedt o thed esigno f the study. Nancy Anderson, Lisa Briskin and Loran Strelowo f the University of Minnesota,M inneapolis, MN, and Debra Hole of Hazelden,C enter City, MN, assistedin data collection.

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Alcoholism
  • Comorbidity
  • Drug abuse
  • Genetics
  • Mental disorders
  • Twins


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