Married people less likely to become alcoholics

marriage

Married people are less likely to become alcoholics, according to new research from American and Swedish academics.

A team from Lund University in Sweden and the Virginia Commonwealth University examined data on 3.2 million people born in the Scandinavian country between 1960 and 1990. All the subjects chosen were single at the beginning and none were alcoholics.

When they correlated marriage data and compared it to the development of alcoholism in some subjects, the research team found that the former was linked to “substantial decrease in risk” for the latter, especially when the subject had no family history of alcohol abuse.

For first marriages, the reduction in risk was 59 per cent for men and 73 per cent for women.

Lead researcher and professor of psychiatry Kenneth S Kendler explained:

“With this study, we were trying to determine if marriage influences individuals’ future risks for alcohol use disorders.”

He added:

“It is the person who is most vulnerable to risks of alcoholism from a genetic background who might be the most sensitive to protective effect of marriage.”

The protective effect disappeared, however, if the person’s new spouse had a problem with alcohol or developed one over the course of the marriage. Professor Kendler described this as “considerably worse than being single.”

The research, entitled Effect of Marriage on Risk for Onset of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Longitudinal and Co-Relative Analysis in a Swedish National Sample, was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The study echoes earlier research from the University of Missouri which linked marriage to a reduction in drinking levels amongst young adults.

Image by Paul Gibson via Flickr

 

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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