In this prospective longitudinal study over 15 years (1957 to 1972) the background factors for those who became alcoholics and those who did not were registered before anybody knew what the outcome would be. The population (2,612 inhabitants) lived in 1957 in a delimited area in the South of Sweden, Lundby. In 1957 nearby everyone (98%) was examined by a single psychiatrist, and again in 1972, irrespective of domicile, by two psychiatrists. Among the men who at the outset did not misuse alcohol, 58 became alcoholics. These alcoholics were compared with the non-alcoholics regarding e.g. personality traits, social factors and interactions between factors.