Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Ditre, Joseph W.


Alcohol Use Disorder, Endogenous Pain Modulation, Family History

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychiatry and Psychology


Family history of alcohol use disorder (AUD) is frequently endorsed by chronic pain patients. Although individuals with a family history of AUD have demonstrated enhanced sensitivity to painful stimulation, we are not aware of any previous research that has examined clinically-relevant endogenous pain modulation (i.e., capacity to inhibit or facilitate pain) in this population. The goal of this study was to test family history of AUD as a predictor of conditioned pain modulation, offset analgesia, and temporal summation among a sample of moderate-to-heavy drinkers. Participants (N = 235; 58.3% male; Mage = 34.3, SD = 12.3) were evaluated for family history of AUD at baseline (family history positive: n = 54; 59.3% white) and pain modulatory outcomes were assessed via quantitative sensory testing. Results indicated that participants with a family history of AUD (relative to those without) evinced a pro-nociceptive pain modulation profile in response to experimental pain. Specifically, family history of AUD was associated with deficits in pain-inhibitory processes, which may help to explain the observed high rates of familial AUD in chronic pain patients. Exploratory analyses further suggested these effects may be driven by paternal AUD. The current findings suggest a family history of AUD may confer risk for AUD and chronic pain. Clinically, these data may inform treatment decisions for acute pain among individuals with a family history of AUD.


Open Access



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