Predicting Alcohol Use from Genome-Wide Polygenic Scores, Environmental Factors, and Their Interactions in Young Adulthood

Radhika Kandaswamy, Andrea Allegrini, Alexandra F. Nancarrow, Sophie Nicole Cave, Robert Plomin, Sophie Von Stumm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Alcohol use during emerging adulthood is associated with adverse life outcomes, but its risk factors are not well known. Here, we predicted alcohol use in 3153 young adults aged 22 years from a) genome-wide polygenic scores (GPS) based on genome-wide association studies for the target phenotypes number of drinks per week and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scores, b) 30 environmental factors, and c) their interactions (i.e., G × E effects). Methods Data were collected from 1994 to 2018 as a part of the UK Twins Early Development Study. Results GPS accounted for up to 1.9% of the variance in alcohol use (i.e., Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score), whereas the 30 measures of environmental factors together accounted for 21.1%. The 30 GPS by environment interactions did not explain any additional variance, and none of the interaction terms exceeded the significance threshold after correcting for multiple testing. Conclusions GPS and some environmental factors significantly predicted alcohol use in young adulthood, but we observed no GPS by environment interactions in our study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-250
Number of pages7
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Source of Funding and Conflicts of Interest: This study was supported by the European Foundation for Alcohol Research (grant EA1816), the Jacobs Foundation, and the Nuffield Foundation (grant EDO/44110). TEDS is supported by a program grant from the UK Medical Research Council (grant G0901245 and previously G0500079), with additional support from the US National Institutes of Health (grants HD044454 and HD059215). We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the TEDS participants and their families. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


  • alcohol use
  • gene by environment interaction
  • polygenic scores
  • Twins Early Development Study
  • young adulthood

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