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Study: Genetic risk for substance use can be neutralized by good parenting
Date:2/10/2009

had used marijuana.

Among youth with the genetic risk factor, those who received low levels of involved and supportive parenting increased their substance use at rate three times higher than youth with high levels of parental support. Among youth with high levels of involved and supportive parenting, the difference in substance abuse was negligible regardless of genetic risk.

"In families that were characterized by strong relationships between children and their parents, the effect of the genetic risk was essentially zero," said Beach, who is also a Distinguished Research Professor in the psychology department of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "With this study and previous studies looking at environmental risk factors such as poverty, we're finding that in many cases the best way to help children is to help families become more resilient."

Involved and supportive parenting is a very powerful tool, and Brody said it's relatively simple to implement. Some examples include parents regularly spending time with children, communicating with them to gauge how they're doing, providing emotional support and helping them with their material and day-to-day needs such as homework.

"We all carry around genetic risks," said Brody, who also directs the UGA Center for Family Research, a unit of the IBR, "but fortunately very few people are impacted by those risks because their environment protects them."


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Contact: Sam Fahmy
sfahmy@uga.edu
706-542-5361
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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