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

By
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.

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