January 20, 2011

Want a Lasting Marriage? Bury the Bottle

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new study reveals alcoholism can have an impact on when you say your "I dos" and how long the commitment lasts. Several studies have examined the links between drinking behavior and marital status, but this study explores whether alcoholism can affect the timing of when a person ties the knot and the overall length of his/her marriage.

Mary Waldron, an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Education, and her colleagues, found that alcohol dependence was a strong predictor of both delays in marriage and early separation.

Waldron was quoted as saying: "Young adults who drink alcohol may want to consider the longer-term consequences for marriage. If drinking continues or increases to levels of problem use, likelihood of marriage, or of having a lasting marriage, may decrease."

In this study, Waldron and her colleagues recruited 5,000 Australian twins in the early 1980s. Researchers assessed their psychological and physical manifestations of alcohol use, including at what age they experienced an onset of alcohol dependence (researchers stated that early drinking is one of the best predictors of later alcohol dependence). The researchers also noted the age of first marriage and age of separation from the marriage in twins who were between 28 and 92 years old, at last assessment.

The results showed a strong link between alcohol dependence and delayed marriage as well as early separation. Researchers also noted that genetic influences contributed to these associations for both men and women.

Waldron says more research is needed to understand what role genes play in affecting environmental influences. The authors also added that while follow-up studies with more diverse samples are needed, the results of this study show that problem drinking affects more people than simply the alcoholic.

SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 2011