COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Smoking Behavior across Adolescence and Young Adulthood in the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development and the Transitions to Substance Abuse Follow-Up

Elizabeth K Do, Elizabeth C Prom-Wormley, Lindon J Eaves, Judy L Silberg, Donna R Miles, Hermine H Maes
Twin Research and Human Genetics: the Official Journal of the International Society for Twin Studies 2015, 18 (1): 43-51
25662421
Little is known regarding the underlying relationship between smoking initiation and current quantity smoked during adolescence into young adulthood. It is possible that the influences of genetic and environmental factors on this relationship vary across sex and age. To investigate this further, the current study applied a common causal contingency model to data from a Virginia-based twin study to determine: (1) if the same genetic and environmental factors are contributing to smoking initiation and current quantity smoked; (2) whether the magnitude of genetic and environmental factor contributions are the same across adolescence and young adulthood; and (3) if qualitative and quantitative differences in the sources of variance between males and females exist. Study results found no qualitative or quantitative sex differences in the relationship between smoking initiation and current quantity smoked, though relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors changed across adolescence and young adulthood. More specifically, smoking initiation and current quantity smoked remain separate constructs until young adulthood, when liabilities are correlated. Smoking initiation is explained by genetic, shared, and unique environmental factors in early adolescence and by genetic and unique environmental factors in young adulthood; while current quantity smoked is explained by shared environmental and unique environmental factors until young adulthood, when genetic and unique environmental factors play a larger role.

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