Developmental changes in postural sway in children at high and low risk for developing alcohol-related disorders

Shirley Y. Hill, Sa Shen, Jeannette Locke, Lisa Lowers, Stuart Steinhauer, Colleen Konicky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To utilize the power of latent growth analysis to evaluate changes in postural sway during development in children who are either at high or low risk for developing alcoholism. Methods: A total of 629 assessments of postural sway have been performed in children and adolescents (n = 126) who were evaluated annually over a 7-year period. Results: Latent curve models indicated that these children/adolescents show a linear decrease in sway with age. Moreover, significantly different rates of change in the amount of sway between high- and low-risk offspring were seen. With the exception of one of the four stances tested, high-risk boys consistently showed a slower rate of improvement with respect to the amount of sway exhibited compared to low-risk boys. In girls, similar rates of improvement with age were seen in high- and low-risk individuals, though in one stance the high-risk girls showed a deterioration (greater sway with increasing age). Conclusions: Previous reports of increased postural sway in high-risk offspring most likely reflect a developmental delay (high-risk children have greater sway than is appropriate for their age based on normative values by age). Copyright (C) 2000 Society of Biological Psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-511
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 23 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcoholism
  • Development
  • Neurobehavioral markers
  • Postural sway
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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