Married women drink more
New research has shown that married women drink more than single women, whilst married men drink less than their bachelor counterparts.
The study was presented by sociologist Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association last weekend.
The study used survey data from 5,000 people and in-depth interviews with 120 of them.
Commentators on the study have suggested that the results may indicate that married couples adjust their drinking to be more in-line with their partners.
“It appears that amongst couples, males and females gravitate toward a mutual midpoint with respect to alcohol use,” said Scott M. Bea, clinical psychologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic
Meaning that married women drink more than before whilst married men drink less, although overall, men still drink more than women.
The results are contrary to past studies that show married people drinking less than single people.
However others suggest that alcohol consumption could relate to stress levels.
Don R. Catherall, professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University said that “Long-term married women may have some additional stressors that [previously married] women do not and apparently derive less stress relief from their marital relationships than do men.”
Divorced men were more likely to increase their drinking, whereas three-quarters of divorced women claimed to drink less following the dissolution of their marriage.
The study’s authors wrote that for women “the transition to divorce was discussed in relation to depression symptoms, which resulted in abstaining from both food and alcohol.”
The report noted that despite the increase in alcohol consumption exhibited by married women, it was in fact the men who were a cause for concern.
On average men drink more and are more likely to abuse alcohol. The fear is that husbands who fail to bring their drinking in line with their partners may find their relationship ending in divorce, resulting in more heavy drinking and the related health issues.