Interrelationships among parental family history of substance misuse, delay discounting, and personal substance use

Lauren VanderBroek, John Acker, Abraham A Palmer, Harriet de Wit, James MacKillop
Psychopharmacology 2016, 233 (1): 39-48

RATIONALE: Despite consistent evidence of the familiality of substance misuse, the mechanisms by which family history (FH) increases the risk of addiction are not well understood. One behavioral trait that may mediate the risk for substance use and addiction is delay discounting (DD), which characterizes an individual's preferences for smaller immediate rewards compared to larger future rewards.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study is to examine the interrelationships among FH, DD, and diverse aspects of personal substance use, and to test DD as a mediator of the relationship between FH and personal substance use.

METHODS: The study used crowdsourcing to recruit a community sample of adults (Nā€‰=ā€‰732). Family history was assessed using a brief assessment of perceived parental substance use problems, personal substance use was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and a measure of frequency of use, and delay discounting was assessed using a latent index of discounting preferences across six reward magnitudes.

RESULTS: Steeper discounting was significantly associated with personal alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use, and level of substance experimentation. Steeper DD was also associated with a denser parental FH of alcohol, tobacco, and overall substance misuse. Parental FH density was significantly associated with several aspects of personal substance use, and these relationships were partially mediated by DD.

CONCLUSIONS: The current study suggests that impulsivity, as measured by DD, is one proximal mechanism by which parental FH increases substance use later in life. The causal role of DD in this relationship will need to be established in future longitudinal studies.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"