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Religious Teens Seem Less Prone to Alcohol Abuse

But piety only trumps genetic tendencies until early adulthood, study finds

TUESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) --Teenagers who are raised with a religious outlook are less likely to abuse alcohol, even if they are genetically predisposed to do so, new research suggests.

Being religious does not, however, appear to prevent such abuse in early adulthood, the study authors found.

The findings are reported in the September issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"Our study showed that genetic factors could influence problem alcohol use more in nonreligious adolescents than adolescents with a greater religious outlook," study co-author Tanya M.M. Button, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said in a news release from the journal.

In essence that means, added Button, that "religiosity exerted a strong enough influence over the behavior of religious individuals to override any genetic predisposition. The same was not true for young adults, however, for whom the genetic influence was consistent across levels of religiosity."

The authors' conclusions stem from work with more than 1,400 pairs of male and female twins, both fraternal and identical, during both adolescence and early adulthood.

More information

For more on alcoholism, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

--Alan Mozes

SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, June 21, 2010, news release

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