Alcohol Use Disorders and Stress: Transdisciplinary Insights into Etiology

  • Perry, Brea (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Researchers have long recognized the complexity of the etiology of alcohol use disorders (AUDs), arguing that genetics and environmental context exist in a complex and mutually dependent relationship, interacting to influence disease outcomes (Pescosolido et al. 2008). In particular, the role of stress and coping in AUDs has been singled out as a problem in need of integrative investigation (Cooper 2004) For instance, psychological resources shape how individuals appraise, understand, and react to their social environment (Moos 2003). Further, genetic predispositions and physiological processes influence the probability that individuals will respond to stressors by engaging in unhealthy behaviors (Cyders & Smith 2008; Goodwin 1991). Despite the promise of integrative biopsychosocial models, these have rarely been empirically tested in a comprehensive fashion. Indeed, the availability of appropriate data and the costs associated with generating large samples have traditionally constrained the kinds of research questions pursued, the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration, and the use of advanced statistical techniques (Newbold 2007). However, in the past few decades, epigenetic datasets containing both social science and biological data have become more common and accessible. Moreover, the growth of these kinds of datasets has corresponded to statistical innovations and a refinement and broadening of the analytical tools used within health research, including the ability to gain insight into the dynamic, interacting causes and consequences associated with health problems and behaviors. The proposed project brings together biomedical and socio-behavioral scientists and uses advanced statistical methods to develop and test a multilevel, etiological model of stress and emotion-based drinking behaviors and disorders (i.e., consuming alcohol to cope with stress and negative emotions). The planned research uses an existing longitudinal epigenetic study, the Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA).
Effective start/end date1/1/1212/31/13


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