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Research summary discusses alcohol's marriage dynamics

October 14, 2014
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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The University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) has released a two-page brief outlining key topics in alcohol use's effects on marriage, highlighting problems that occur when there is an imbalance in the two partners' level of use.

“RIA Reaching Others: Does Drinking Affect Marriage?” is the 12th issue in the institute's expert summary series. It cites research showing that marriages in which both partners drink heavily actually experience fewer problems than marriages where only one partner drinks heavily, but it adds that children experience more problems when both parents drink heavily.

The document also states that when only one partner in a marriage drinks heavily, more often that person is the husband. Also, alcohol and drug use is the third most frequently cited reason for divorce by women and the eighth most frequently cited reason by men.

The summary states that less research has been done on alcohol's effect on couples who live together and on same-sex couples, although it adds that heavy alcohol use is more common in the LGBT population in general.