ALDH2, ADH1B and Alcohol Expectancies: Integrating Genetic and Learning Perspectives

Christian S. Hendershot, Clayton Neighbors, William H. George, Denis M. McCarthy, Tamara L. Wall, Tiebing Liang, Mary E. Larimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The present study evaluated associations of ALDH2 and ADH1B genotypes with alcohol expectancies and drinking behavior in a sample of Asian American young adults. In addition to assessing global alcohol expectancies, the authors developed a measure of physiological expectancies to evaluate an expectancy phenotype specific to the mechanism by which ALDH2 and ADH1B variations presumably influence drinking behavior. Compared with individuals with the ALDH2*1/*1 genotype, those with the ALDH2*2 allele reported greater negative alcohol expectancies, greater expectancies for physiological effects of alcohol and lower rates of alcohol use. ADH1B was not associated with alcohol expectancies or drinking behavior. Hierarchical models showed that demographic factors, ALDH2 genotype, and expectancy variables explained unique variance in drinking outcomes. Mediation tests showed significant indirect effects of ALDH2 on drinking frequency and peak lifetime consumption through expectancies. These results provide support for influences of genetic factors and alcohol sensitivity on alcohol-related learning and suggest the importance of developing biopsychosocial models of drinking behavior in Asian Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-463
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • alcohol expectancies
  • ALDH2 and ADH1B
  • Asian Americans
  • college students
  • genetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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