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Marriage Affects Alcohol Use: Study [AUDIO]

Tying the knot affects men and women in different ways, and new research suggests one of those ways is alcohol intake. The findings are probably not what you’d expect.

wine glasses
Flickr User ishane

According to the study from a group of sociologists, marriage makes women drink more and men drink less.

“Men who are married drink less than men who are single, but women who are married drink more than their single counterparts,” explained Deborah Carr of Rutgers University, a co-author of the study.

Carr said the effect of marriage on drinking is opposite between genders because spouses tend to mirror each other’s behaviors.

She continued, “Men who might have drank a lot when they were single find that when they’re married, their wife might not necessarily stand for that kind of behavior. Women are the ones who help men cut back on their drinking.”

The study is evidence that women tend to be a stabilizing force on the men they marry, especially when it pertains to drinking.

Deborah Carr, Ph.D.
Deborah Carr, Ph.D. (

On the flip side, married women take on some of the habits displayed by their spouses.

“A lot of women don’t particularly drink on their own, but having a husband or having a man in their life makes them drink slightly more,” Carr explained.

In no way does the study suggest marriage turns women into alcoholics. The changes in alcohol intake is minimal for both genders.

“Even though women are drinking more, they might go from having zero glasses of wine with dinner to one. Men might go from having three beers on a Friday night to one,” said Carr.

Drinking habits are also affected by divorce, according to the study. However, the scale tips the other way. For men, the transition out of marriage creates stress, which leads to drinking. Meanwhile, the loss of a husband who drinks is related to a divorced woman’s lower drinking levels.

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