Parenting shapes genetic risk for drug use | Science News

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Parenting shapes genetic risk for drug use

Drugs have a heightened appeal for teens who inherit a certain gene variant, unless the youngsters also have involved, supportive parents

2:24pm, January 29, 2009

Good parenting provides a potent buffer against some youngsters’ genetic predisposition to use alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana by age 14, a new study finds. Uninvolved, unsupportive parenting heralds a spike in consumption of these substances among genetically vulnerable teens, reports a team led by psychologist Gene Brody of the University of Georgia in Athens.

Brody and his colleagues conducted what to their knowledge is the first long-term examination of how parenting practices combine with a child’s genetic makeup to either prompt or prevent early drug use. Their results, based on a three-year study of rural, black youths from working poor families, a population that Brody’s Center for Family Research works with regularly, appear in the February Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

“Our study emphasizes that there are protective processes in children’s lives, such as effective parenting, that shield them from a genetic ris

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