Introduction: Family history (FH) of alcohol dependence is likely to increase the risk of trauma exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and alcohol dependence. FH of alcohol dependence and trauma has been separately shown to adversely affect planning/problem-solving aspects of executive function. However, few studies have examined these risk factors in an integrated model. Methods: Using data from trauma-exposed individuals from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism prospective cohort (N = 1,860), comprising offspring from alcohol-dependent high-risk and comparison families (mean age [SE] = 21.9 [4.2]), we investigated associations of trauma (nonsexual assaultive, nonassaultive, sexual assaultive) with DSM-IV PTSD and alcohol dependence symptom counts, and planning/problem-solving abilities assessed using the Tower of London Test (TOLT). Moderating effects of family history density of alcohol use disorder (FHD) on these associations and sex differences were explored. Results: Family history density was positively associated with PTSD in female participants who endorsed a sexual assaultive trauma. Exposure to nonsexual assaultive trauma was associated with more excess moves made on the TOLT. Conclusion: Findings from this study demonstrate associations with PTSD and alcohol dependence symptom counts, as well as poor problem-solving ability in trauma-exposed individuals from families densely affected with alcohol dependence, depending on trauma type, FHD, and sex. This suggests that having a FH of alcohol dependence and exposure to trauma during adolescence may be associated with more PTSD and alcohol dependence symptoms, and poor problem-solving abilities in adulthood.
- executive function
- post-traumatic stress disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience