Effects of family history of alcohol problems on alcohol consumption: Stronger for medically underserved men

Family history (FH), informed by genetics and family environment, can be used by practitioners for risk prediction. This study compares the associations of FH with alcohol outcomes for medically underserved (MUS) men and women with the associations for non-underserved individuals to assess the utility of FH as a screening tool for this high-priority group. Data were from 29,993 adult lifetime drinkers in the Wave 1 (2001−2002) and Wave 2 (2004–2005) National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. All variables except FH were measured at Wave 2. Dependent variables were 12-month alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder (AUD). FH scores (FH-SCORE) measured the proportion of first- and second-degree biological relatives with alcohol problems. MUS status was defined by household income at or below 100% of the federal poverty line and participants reporting no usual source of health care. Multivariate linear and logistic regression models tested main and interaction effects. Models showed a significant interaction of FH-SCORE with MUS status (p < .01), with a stronger effect of FH on alcohol consumption for the MUS group. This moderating effect was weaker for women than for men (FH-SCORE x MUS x Sex three-way interaction: p < .01). AUD models showed a significant positive association with FH-SCORE (p < .001) but no association with MUS status and no significant interaction effects. In this sample of lifetime drinkers, FH was associated with higher alcohol consumption, especially for MUS men. These results encourage additional validation of FH scores to prioritize MUS adults at high risk for alcohol problems to receive preventive interventions.