Women Drink More After Marriage, Men After Divorce
August 23, 2012

Does Your Husband Drive You To Drink? No Worries, You’re Not Alone

Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati recently found that marriage can increase middle-aged women´s drinking rate, while lowering men´s drinking rate. The study also discovered that men tended to drink more after going through a divorce.

The study examined a general group of people and found that the drinking pattern will depend on the individual.

“Marriage and divorce have different consequences for men's and women's alcohol use," explained study author Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, in an article by Health Day. "For men, it's tempered by being married and exacerbated by being divorced."

Based on previous studies, researchers acknowledge that men drink more than women but also believe that women have increased their rate of drinking over time. For the first time, men also appear to be slowing their drinking rate after getting married. Instead of marriage, the new study focuses on the impact of divorce on drinking. Based on a U.S. survey conducted from 1993 to 2004, the researchers were able to analyze the behavior of 5,300 participants between the ages of 53 and 54. They also interviewed 130 people directly.

"We find that unmarried and divorced women actually drink less than their continuously married counterparts," noted Reczek in a CBS segment. "For men, those who were recently divorced have the highest number of drinks and men who are married have the lower number."

Men and women had different numbers respectively. The average number of drinks per month was nine for women who were married and 6.5 for women who were already divorced during that time. The number of drinks for married men was 19.2 and the number of drinks for divorced males was 21.5. the researchers also discovered the number of drinks for individuals who got divorced during that time; males had an average of 26 drinks monthly and females had an average of 10 drinks monthly.

The researchers believe that, in some cases, women were introduced to drinking by their spouses. On the other hand, men used alcohol as a coping mechanism as compared to women, who utilized food or family members. The researchers also believe that males are surrounded in environments with alcohol with their friends.

"They just drink more because their husbands drink more. Women talk about how when they get divorced, they lose the person encouraging them to drink,” commented Reczek in the Health Day article.

According to the Huffington Post, this is not the first study that has looked at marital status in regard to alcohol consumption. A study by the Australian National University in 2004 proposed that married couples consume less alcohol than non-married couples. As well, a study from Cardiff University in 2011 showed that happily married couples had healthier appetites than other individuals.

"There is some research to suggest entry into marriage is associated with greater reduction in drinking for women than men," remarked Mary Waldron, an assistant professor of Human Development at Indiana University, in the Health Day article. "But other research suggests the opposite, and still other studies report similar reductions in drinking for men and women upon marriage."

The study, which will be presented at the American Sociological Association annual meeting, focused on the effects of drinking and could help develop solutions for younger generations.

"It's important to consider the role of marriage and transitions out of marriage, through divorce or widowhood, on risks for heavy or problem drinking, including risks for the next generation,” concluded Waldron in the Health Day article.