Resilience and Risk for Alcohol Use Disorders: A Swedish Twin Study

Elizabeth C. Long, Sara L. Lönn, Jianguang Ji, Paul Lichtenstein, Jan Sundquist, Kristina Sundquist, Kenneth S. Kendler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Resilience has been shown to be protective against alcohol use disorders (AUDs), but the magnitude and nature of the relationship between these 2 phenotypes are not clear. The aim of this study was to examine the strength of this relationship and the degree to which it results from common genetic or common environmental influences. Methods: Resilience was assessed on a 9-point scale during a personal interview in 1,653,721 Swedish men aged 17 to 25 years. AUD was identified based on Swedish medical, legal, and pharmacy registries. The magnitude of the relationship between resilience and AUD was examined using logistic regression. The extent to which the relationship arises from common genetic or common environmental factors was examined using a bivariate Cholesky decomposition model. Results: The 5 single items that comprised the resilience assessment (social maturity, interest, psychological energy, home environment, and emotional control) all reduced risk for subsequent AUD, with social maturity showing the strongest effect. The linear effect by logistic regression showed that a 1-point increase on the resilience scale was associated with a 29% decrease in odds of AUD. The Cholesky decomposition model demonstrated that the resilience–AUD relationship was largely attributable to overlapping genetic and shared environmental factors (57 and 36%, respectively). Conclusions: Resilience is strongly associated with a reduction in risk for AUD. This relationship appears to be the result of overlapping genetic and shared environmental influences that impact resilience and risk of AUD, rather than a directly causal relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Resilience and Risk for Alcohol Use Disorders: A Swedish Twin Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this