Parental Alcohol Problems, Parental Divorce, and Type II Diabetes in Adulthood
A Longitudinal Prospective Cohort Study in Middle-Aged Men
Type II diabetes is a chronic disease and a serious global public health concern increasing both mortality and morbidity. Previous studies have found evidence for an association between early psychological stress and diabetes later in life.
This study examined the association between parental alcohol problems and parental divorce, and the incidence of type II diabetes in Finnish men aged 42–61 years (n = 754), using a prospective setting. Information on parental alcohol problems and parental divorce was derived from school records, and subjective experiences of the same events from self-rated questionnaires. The average follow-up time for the participants until the first type II diabetes diagnosis was 23.3 years (25th –75th percentile 21.2–27.9 y).
Cox regression analyses revealed that parental alcohol problems (HR 3.09, 95% CI: 1.38–6.88) were associated with an increased risk of type II diabetes during the follow-up, even after adjustment for age, marital status, education, Human Population Laboratory (HPL) Depression Scale scores, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. In a similar model, parental divorce (HR 1.69, 95% CI: 0.40–7.05) was not associated with an increased risk of type II diabetes during the follow-up.
The findings suggest that not all ACEs contribute equally to the risk of type II diabetes. Parental alcohol problems, but not parental divorce, were associated with an increased risk of type II diabetes in men. These findings highlight the need for early interventions targeting parents with excessive alcohol consumption to reduce their offspring’s risk of lifestyle-related disorders.