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Long-term Marriage Curbs Men's drinking, Makes Women Drink More

Update Date: Aug 19, 2012 12:38 PM EDT

Being married is a full-time job and many couples sometimes turn to alcohol to ease them through turbulent problems. 

According to research to be presented at the American Sociological Association's 107th Annual Meeting, a long-term marriage appears to curb men's drinking, but is associated with a slightly higher level of alcohol use among women.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati revealed that married men reported consuming the lowest number of drinks, compared with single, divorced, and widowed men and men also were more likely than women to turn to drinking after a divorce. Recently divorced men reported consuming a significantly greater average number of drinks than men in long-term marriages.

Researchers also found that married women 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 researchers also found that in each marital status category, men consumed a greater average number of drinks than women and that across every marital status category, a higher proportion of men than women also reported having at least one drinking-related problem.

A significantly higher number of Long-term divorced and recently divorced women reported at least one drinking-related problem compared to long-term married women.

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

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.

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