Binge Drinkers Likely To Pass Behavior On To Romantic Partners
January 8, 2012

Binge Drinkers Likely To Pass Behavior On To Romantic Partners

The behavior of a binge drinker is likely to influence the person with whom he or she is romantically involved, a new study by Canadian researchers has revealed.

According to Robert Preidt of USA Today HealthDay, researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, studied 208 unmarried, heterosexual couples who saw each other at least five days each week.

The researchers said that they were able to predict the likelihood that one partner would binge drink based on the behavior of their significant other.

The participants were all in their early twenties, dating for a minimum of three months, and at least one of them had to be a college or university student, the UPI reported Saturday.

The researchers believe that the findings suggest that many young adults become binge drinkers because the person they are dating is one, added Preidt.

"In some respect this is a cautionary piece of research. Pick your friends and lovers carefully because they influence you more than you think," Simon Sherry, an assistant professor at the Dalhousie University Department of Psychology, said in a press release, according to USA Today.

"We're not so naive as researchers to think students are going to walk away from binge drinking. But our study shows there's a large majority of students who form romantic partnerships where alcohol is a regularly occurring theme," he added.

Furthermore, as Melissa D'costa of the Times of India reported Saturday, the study also found that the influence was not gender specific -- that women were as likely to influence men as vice versa.

"Binge drinking in university students occurs in both young men and women. Studies with married couples show that men have more of an influence on women, but in our study, we found both young women and young men influence their partner's binge drinking," researcher Aislin Mushquash wrote, according to D'costa's report.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Seema Hingorrany told the Times that she agreed with the study's findings, saying, "Your partner plays a pivotal role in your day-to-day decisions. Both men and women can influence their partner's drinking process. Subconsciously things get reinforced depending on what their partner says or does."

An advanced online publication of the study appeared December 12 at the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors website, and can also be viewed as a PDF at the university's website.


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