Study Says Married Couples Face Less Drinking Problems


Not that it comes highly recommended in the least bit, but it turns out getting married may help with alcoholism. According to a new study, marriage can result in a huge reduction of alcohol consumption, even among alcoholics.

This recent research conducted at the University of Missouri found that a dramatic change in one’s role, such as becoming a husband or wife, can help people beat alcoholism and get on the straight and narrow.

Matthew Lee, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri said, “A key conceptual framework psychologists use to explain maturing out and the ‘marriage effect’ is role-incompatibility theory.”

“The theory suggests that if a person’s existing behavioral pattern is conflicting with the demands of a new role, such as marriage, one way to resolve the incompatibility is to change the behavior.”

Logically this makes sense. After all, it is said that those trying to get sober need to change everything in order to recover from alcoholism and addiction. That includes people, places, things and even ideas. What the study is saying is that a lot of times marriage creates this kind of change for people.

Lee went on to say, “We hypothesized that this incompatibility may be greater for more severe drinkers so they’ll need to make greater changes to their drinking to meet the role demands of marriage.”

Participants in the Study

The study used data from a huge, ongoing study of familial alcohol disorders by the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University. Around 50% of the participants in the study were children of alcoholics.

Looking at how the alcohol consumption of participants changed between the ages of 18 to 40 and whether or not they got married, scientists were able to conclude that tying the knot helps combat the disease.

Dr. Lee said, “Confirming our prediction, we found that marriage not only led to reductions in heavy drinking in general, this effect was much stronger for those who were severe problem drinkers before getting married. This seems consistent with the role incompatibility theory.”

On the other side of the coin, getting married while having a drinking problem may just cause an alcoholic to find new ways to drink. What do you think? Can marriage help severe problem drinkers to stop drinking? Are you married? Did it help slow your drinking down or did it just become another obstacle you had to overcome in order to drink?

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