The MERIT activation will extend this 20 year long high risk for alcoholism family study of 467 families into the mid 20s for offspring who were originally preschoolers at study onset, and into the mid '50s for their parents (Ns= 1050 offspring (G2s);910 parents (G1s), 84 G1 step-parents, and 41 G2 partners). All family members have been assessed at 3-year intervals and offspring at yearly intervals between 11 and 17. Over the past 3 years among the offspring (Generation 2s or G2s) in the 18-20 range, AUD rates were 32% and 24% among COA and nonCOA males respectively, 28% and 14% among females. Still higher levels of AUD are expected over the next 5 years as G2s move into and traverse the age 21-23 period of peak alcohol use. Alcoholic families were twice as likely to have experienced divorce and G2s from alcoholic families were 3 times more likely to become parents themselves, and at a younger age. Subject participation continues in the 90% range. The project will pursue its long term goals of (1) identification of risk and protective factorsfor the emergence and development alcohol abuse and dependence (AUD) among G2s, with a special focus on the interaction of individual and contextual factors over time;(2) identification of risk and protective factors for chronicity and remission of AUD among G1s, (3)identificatibn of collateral psychiatric, psychosocial, and health outcomes for both G1s and G2s as related to their own trajectoriesof AUD;and (4) serve as the core psychosocial database for 6 offshoot studies examining (a) neurocognitive function, (b) development of intermediate neural systems precursive to behavioral risk, (c) role of smoking in producing psychosocial, neurocognitive, and brain functional impairment, (d) relationship of stress to substance abuse over the life span, (e) marital interaction among alcoholic and nonalcoholic adults and its long term consequences, and (f) vulnerability genes and their relationship to behavioral outcomes. The project will continue its3 year assessment of alcohol and other drug use, psychiatric symptoms, personality, psychosocial functioning and social environment of G1s and G2s, and given the critical developmental nature of the 18-23 year period, will instigate yearly assessmentsin that period as well. Given the major importance of relationships in shaping outcomes in that era of life, collateral data will also be obtained from one intimate other and one friend. Critical next step work will be to articulate the multiple specific risk pathways into AUD, and specify the degree to which these multiple contributors to risk are additive, alternative, or interactive. Relevance: This project will continue to identify very early behavioral and environmental risk factors for the development of alcohol problems and AUD, and also identify factors that predict recovery and relapse from AUD in adulthood. The detailed characterization of predictors across time will permit evaluation of critical individual-environment interactions. Findings will continue to have applicability in the design of new prevention programs as well as suggest new strategies for intervention in adulthood.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (R37)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
Program Officer
Lowman, Cherry
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University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Schools of Medicine
Ann Arbor
United States
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