Genes involved in stress response and alcohol use among high-risk African American youth

Neeru Goyal*, Fazil Aliev, Shawn J. Latendresse, Darlene A. Kertes, John M. Bolland, Gayle R. Byck, Brian Mustanski, Jessica E. Salvatore, Danielle M. Dick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Genetic and environmental factors influence substance use behaviors in youth. One of the known environmental risk factors is exposure to life stressors. The aim of this project is to study the interaction between NR3C1 and CRHBP, genes thought to be involved in stress pathways, exposure to stressful life events, and adolescent alcohol use/misuse. Methods: The sample included 541 African American individuals (ages 13–18) from the Genes, Environment, and Neighborhood Initiative, a subset of the Mobile Youth Survey sample from whom DNA and more extensive phenotypic data were collected. Participants were selected from high-poverty neighborhoods in Mobile, Alabama, with potential exposure to a variety of extreme life stressors. Results: A measure of stressful life events was significantly predictive of alcohol use/misuse. In addition, this association was significantly dependent upon the number of putative risk variants at rs1715749, a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in CRHBP (P ≤.006). There was no significant interaction between NR3C1 and stressful life events with respect to alcohol use/misuse, after taking into account multiple testing. Conclusions: These findings suggest that CRHBP variants are potentially relevant for adolescent alcohol use/misuse among African American youth populations being reared within the context of stressful life events and warrant replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-458
Number of pages9
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016


  • Adolescents
  • alcohol
  • stressful life events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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