Study examines the relationship between marriage and alcohol

August 18, 2012

New research examining relationships and the use of alcohol finds that while a long-term marriage appears to curb men's drinking, it's associated with a slightly higher level of alcohol use among women. The study, led by the University of Cincinnati (UC), will be presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Based on survey data and interviews, the authors revealed that reported consuming the lowest number of drinks, compared with single, divorced, and widowed men. That's in part because of their wives' lower levels of drinking, write the authors. Men also were more likely than women to turn to drinking after a divorce.

On the other hand, the researchers found that consumed more drinks than long-term divorced or recently widowed women, in part because they lived with men who had higher levels of alcohol use.

The authors of the study are Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati; Tetyana Pudrovska, an assistant professor of sociology and demography at The Pennsylvania State University; Deborah Carr, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University; and Debra Umberson, a professor of sociology at University of Texas at Austin.

The researchers analyzed survey data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study to explore in the relationship between marriage and alcohol. They also analyzed data from two in-depth interview studies, the Over the Life Course Project, conducted between 2003-2006, and the Relationships and Over the Life Course Study, conducted between 2007-2010.

The researchers also found that:

  • In each marital status category, men consumed a greater average number of drinks than women.
  • Across every marital status category, a higher proportion of men than women also reported having at least one drinking-related problem.
  • Recently divorced men reported consuming a significantly greater average number of drinks than men in long-term marriages.
  • Reporting at least one drinking-related problem was significantly higher among long-term divorced and recently divorced women than long-term married women.

The researchers gauged alcohol consumption by total number of drinks consumed in a month.

The researchers suggest that future research should examine more closely how widowhood shapes alcohol use over time, as well as explore alcohol use differences across race-ethnicity.

Explore further: Large weight gains most likely for men after divorce, women after marriage

Related Stories

Large weight gains most likely for men after divorce, women after marriage

August 22, 2011
Both marriage and divorce can act as "weight shocks," leading people to add a few extra pounds – especially among those over age 30 - according to a new study.

Recommended for you

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

App lets patients work alone or with others to prevent, monitor, and reverse chronic disease

July 24, 2017
Lack of patient adherence to treatment plans is a lingering, costly problem in the United States. But MIT Media Lab spinout Twine Health is proving that regular interventions from a patient's community of supporters can greatly ...

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.