“Previous studies have shown that strong family ties can reduce the effect high-risk genes have on health – called the gene-environment interaction. But a new study suggests that the combination of gender, genetics and social integration produces different consequences for men and women when it comes to substance abuse.
Overall, they found that strong family and community ties reduced the men’s risk of abusing alcohol and drugs or using tobacco. However, for women with the same genetic sensitivity, factors associated with strong social ties could outweigh such benefits.
“It is likely that gene-environment interactions may operate differently for men and women, perhaps because they experience some aspects of the social world in divergent ways,” says Perry, who adds “In families and communities, for example, women often bear more responsibility for developing and maintaining relationships and so more of the care work that is required in those contexts. We cannot assume that a social environment that is favorable for men, and thus reduces the harmful impact of a risky genotype, is also beneficial for women, or vice versa.”
Source: MedicalNewToday.com – August 14, 2014