Our aim was to profile alcohol and cannabis initiation and to characterize the effects of developmental and environmental risk factors on changes in average drug use over time.
We fitted a two-part random effects growth model to identify developmental and environmental risks associated with alcohol and cannabis initiation, initial average use and changes in average use.
1796 males aged 24–63 from the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders.
Data from three interview waves included self-report measures of average alcohol and cannabis use between ages 15 and 24, genetic risk of problem drug use, childhood environmental risks, personality, psychiatric symptoms, as well as personal, family and social risk factors.
Average alcohol and cannabis use were correlated at all ages. Genetic risk of drug use based on family history, higher sensation seeking, and peer group deviance predicted both alcohol and cannabis initiation. Higher drug availability predicted cannabis initiation while less parental monitoring and drug availability were the best predictors of how much cannabis individuals consumed over time.
The liability to initiate alcohol and cannabis, average drug use as well as changes in drug use during teenage years and young adulthood is associated with known risk factors.
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