Genetics of Alcoholism

  • Donald W. Goodwin
Part of the Critical Issues in Psychiatry book series (CIPS)


Alcoholism runs in families. About 20% to 25% of the sons of alcoholics become alcoholics or problem drinkers, and so do about 5% of the daughters (Goodwin, 1979, 1988). These rates are about four or five times greater than the prevalence rate of alcoholism in the general population. Apparently, having two alcoholic parents increases the risk that the children will also become alcoholic, but it is not certain how much the risk is increased. A rough guess would be that children with two parents who are alcoholic have about a 40% chance of becoming alcoholic if they are male and perhaps a 10% to 15% chance if they are female. However, it should be stressed that studies documenting these latter figures are lacking.


Cystic Fibrosis Genetic Counseling Identical Twin Assortative Mating Fraternal Twin 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald W. Goodwin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA

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