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Heavy drinking, conduct disorder linked to high-risk sexual behavior
Date:12/3/2007

onduct disorder to high-risk sexual behavior. This study focused specifically on the number of partners, and it defines high risk using a larger number than typically seen in the psychiatric literature.

"To my knowledge, most research in young adults has used a standard of 'up to six' sex partners when examining risk," Cavazos-Rehg says. "But the average number of partners for the people in this study was 9.26, so instead of using 'six or more' partners as our standard for high risk, we increased that number to 10."

The researchers conducted personal interviews with 601 people between 18 and 25 years old. All were unmarried and related to alcohol-dependent individuals who participated in the national Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA), an ongoing project involving interviews and DNA samples from more than 10,000 people. The COGA database includes individuals from inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment centers and their families. Families in the COGA study usually have multiple members with alcohol dependence.

"We categorized these subjects according to three levels of alcohol involvement non-dependent, problem drinking and alcohol dependent and demonstrated how a stepwise increase from non-dependence to problematic alcohol use to alcohol dependence is associated with a higher number of sexual partners," says Cavazos-Rehg. "We found that 22 percent of the non-dependent people had 10 or more partners, compared to 31 percent of problem drinkers and 45 percent of those who were alcohol dependent. We also found a risk for a high number of sexual partners among those with conduct disorder, independent of their level of alcohol involvement. And those with both alcohol dependence and conduct disorder were at greatest risk of having a high number of sex partners."

Cavazos-Rehg suggests when young people are treated for alcohol problems from inpatient treatment for alcohol dependence to emergency care following
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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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