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Johns Hopkins study suggests link between caffeine dependence and family history of alcoholism

the United States and internationally, according to Griffiths.

Patients were evaluated as having a family history of alcoholism if they reported at least one first-degree relative who met the Family History Research Diagnostic Criteria (FH-RDC) for alcoholism. The FH-RDC has high reliability and validity for diagnoses of alcoholism in first-degree relatives.

Subjects had a mean age of 31.9 years, 96 percent were Caucasian, 100 percent were married, 50 percent had a four-year college degree and 23 percent reported having an advanced degree.

Fifty-seven percent had a lifetime diagnosis of caffeine dependence, and 52 percent reported having a family history of alcoholism. Thirty-two percent had both risk factors, and 23 percent had neither.

On the first prenatal visit, the patients were asked to complete a questionnaire that assessed caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and other drug use during the six months before pregnancy awareness and during the seven days before the first prenatal visit. Each patient also met with the obstetrician for prenatal counseling. As part of the counseling session, the physician stated that caffeine use during pregnancy is associated with a variety of adverse consequences and that his recommendation was for the woman to eliminate all caffeine use for the duration of her pregnancy.

Three follow-up questionnaires -- at two to three, three to four and seven months after conception -- were conducted that assessed changes in caffeine and other substance use since the last visit.

In each of these meetings, women were also asked to provide saliva samples to test for caffeine use.

In addition, diagnostic interviews were conducted by a licensed clinical psychologist between the second and third questionnaire assessments. The interviews required 60 to 90 minutes and consisted of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R (SCID, axis I) and the Family Alcohol and Drug Survey.

The SCID is a
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Contact: Eric Vohr
evohr1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
2-Dec-2005


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