The present study covers 375 consecutive patients referred to the three outpatient clinics at the Psychiatric department of Odense University Hospital from November 1995 to February 1997. The aim of the study was to describe differences in problem profiles for alcoholics with or without parental alcoholism. All patients were assessed by means of the Addiction Severity Index at admission. There was a tendency towards alcoholics with parental alcoholism having more severe alcohol problems than alcoholics without such a family history. Furthermore, alcoholics with parental alcoholism had a more complex problem profile, i.e. more legal problems, psychological problems and work-related problems, especially among the males. In sum, male alcoholics with a family history of alcoholism showed a problem profile almost as complex as that of female alcoholics in general.