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Study looks at relationship between marriage, alcohol

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 21 2012 6:13 p.m. MDT

As for men and drinking, Reczek said studies show that marriage provides social control. "We know that women try to essentially shape their husband's health habits in general and their alcohol use. They may try to get them to stop drinking as heavily. And men who get married often stop hanging around single friends who drink." Divorce, she noted, is a "huge stressor, and one of the ways men cope with stress is through alcohol use."

After a divorce, men in the study talked about going back into social networks that were drinking networks, but divorced women did not report the same thing, Reczek said. "That's something for future research."

A number of studies have looked at different aspects of how alcohol and marriage intersect. Last year, research from the University of Indiana linked alcoholism (not just use) to delay in marrying and whether the marriage lasted. They found that when someone in a marriage was dependent on alcohol, the chance the marriage would endure dropped. Never-married males dependent on alcohol were 36 percent less likely to marry, while alcoholic women were 23 percent less likely to wed. Those who wed were twice as likely to separate, compared to nonalcoholics.

"Young adults who drink alcohol may want to consider the longer-term consequences for marriage," lead researcher Mary Waldron, assistant professor at Indiana University School of Education, told Fox News about that study. "If drinking continues or increases to levels of problem use, the likelihood of marriage, or of having a lasting marriage, may decrease."

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