Research in the past has shown men drink more alcoholic drinks than women, though recent research has shown women are beginning to catch up with men. New research conducted by the University of Cincinnati, however, shows when men and women marry, women’s drinking increases while men’s decreases. According to study author Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor at the university, “men’s drinking is tempered by marriage, while women’s is exacerbated.”
The study conducted by Reczek and colleagues examined the results of surveys from 1993 and 2004, and then looked at over 5,300 people and tracked them over time. The researchers also interviewed 130 people directly.
The study conducted by the university also compared drinking rates and divorce and found the opposite effect to be true. Men drink more when divorced and women drink less. Reczek said, “We find that unmarried and divorced women actually drink less than their continuously married counterparts. For men, those who were recently divorced have the highest number of drinks and men who are married have the lower number.”
Why is this so? Women say, in most cases, their husbands introduced them to alcohol and they drink more because their husbands drink. Once they divorce, they drink less because the person encouraging them to drink is no longer in their lives. Men, though, tend to turn to alcohol to cope with stress and also, once single, begin to hang out with their single male friends who enjoy drinking and, thus, drink more than when they were married.
Why would the information revealed in this study be important? According to Mary Waldron, an assistant professor of Human Development at Indiana University, it’s important “to consider the role of marriage and transitions out of marriage, through divorce or widowhood, on risks for heavy or problem drinking, including risks for the next generation,” as research has shown that those children growing up in a home where alcohol is abused have a four times higher chance of developing an addiction to alcohol than those children growing up in a home where alcohol is not abused.