Heavy Drinking may Affect Marriage If Only One Spouse Drinks

By  , MedicineNet.com
Nov 30, 2013

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A new study finds that heavy drinking by one partner in a marriage increases the risk of divorce, but that's not the case if both spouses are heavy drinkers.

alcohol affects marriageThe researchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions followed nearly 650 couples in the first nine years of their marriage. They found out that the divorce rate was nearly 50 percent for couples where only one partner drank heavily.

The divorce rate for couples where neither spouse were heavy drinkers and for couples where both were heavy drinkers was 30 percent. They also found a slightly higher divorce rate in cases when the heavy drinker was the wife, rather than the husband.

According to the lead author, Kenneth Leonard, there is a difference between a couple's drinking habits, rather than the drinking itself, which leads to marital dissatisfaction, separation and divorce. He added that the findings will be helpful to marriage therapists and mental health practitioners to explore whether a difference in drinking habits is causing conflicts between couples seeking help.



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