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Alcoholics tend to show some cognitive deficits relative to nonalcoholics. The present study of a sample from a Danish birth cohort examined whether these deficits might be present in children at high risk for later alcoholism. The subjects were tested at age 12 with a Danish translation of the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children. Risk status for later alcoholism was defined by parental alcoholism as determined by interview and medical records. Results suggest that Performance IQ deficits may be consequential to alcoholism whereas Verbal deficits (characteristic of the high risk children) may be antecedent to alcoholism.