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Wash. U. study looking into alcoholism

By Robert Fredrick, KWMU Science Reporter

St. Louis, MO – Researchers at Washington University released new results Sunday in what is perhaps the largest study of alcoholism in the country.

They suggest that alcoholic parents with thrill-seeking children should focus their children on sports in order to curb their risk of becoming alcoholics as well.

Washington University is one of six sites around the country gathering and analyzing the data, which comes from over 1,000 families. Richard Grucza, an epidemiologist and one of the authors of the study, says that the thrill-seeking personality trait significantly amplifies the risk of becoming an alcoholic for those who have an alcoholic parent.

"One of the take-home messages of the study is that those thrill-seeking tendencies can go in a variety of directions, and are not necessarily predestined to seek out alcohol or drugs," said Grucza, in an interview.

Grucza says that in contrast, the non-thrill-seeking trait moderates the risk for alcoholism of those who have an alcoholic parent. The overall focus of the study is on the genetics of alcoholism.