In a study finding that may not surprise the families of problem drinkers, drinking can have a strong negative impact on how long it takes someone to get married and how long the marriage will survive.
Researchers recruited more than 5,000 Australian twins in the early 1980s and assessed their alcohol use, including the age at which some became alcohol-dependent. The study also looked at the age of participants when they first married and their age when the marriage ended.
Alcohol to blame for many marriage failures
There was a strong association between alcohol dependence and delayed marriage as well as early separation. The researchers also found that genetic influences contributed to these associations for both women and men. The study appears in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
The findings highlight the fact that problem drinking affects more people than just the alcoholic, said the researchers.
"Young adults who drink alcohol may want to consider the longer-term consequences for marriage," said lead author Mary Waldron, an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Education. "If drinking continues or increases to levels of problem use, likelihood of marriage, or of having a lasting marriage, may decrease."
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