Forty-nine daughters of alcoholics were compared to 47 daughters of nonalcholics; both groups of women (average age, 35 years) had been adopted by nonrelatives early in life. Two women in each group were alcoholic or problem drinkers. Although this is above the expected rate of alcoholism among women, the numbers are too small to draw definite conclusions. Almost all were light drinkers. Daughters of alcoholics had no more depression than controls, indicating that alcoholism in the biological parents did not increase the risk of depression in daughters raised by foster parents. Environmental factors may be important in both alcoholism and depression in women, since both tended to be correlated with psychopathology in the foster parents.
From a large consecutive birth cohort in Denmark, 134 sons of alcoholic fathers (high-risk group) and 70 matched controls were selected for a prospective longitudinal study of alcoholism. A premorbid multidisciplinary assessment was conducted at age 19-20. Data were derived from three sources: a social worker interview, a psychopathological interview that also collected information about current drinking pattern, and a questionnaire sent to teachers. The high-risk group reported having experienced a more disturbed school career, and were rated by their teachers as having been more impulsive and as having had poorer verbal proficiency. These factors may be predictive of future alcoholism.