New research appearing in the American Journal of Psychiatry has shown that first marriages to people without a history of alcohol use disorder can help prevent spouses from developing drinking problems as well.
Led by Dr. Kenneth Kendler of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, the study examined 3 million people in Sweden, of which over 70,000 had drinking problems. Although there wasn’t a direct cause found, it was discovered that the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder among married men was 60 percent less and 71 percent less for married women compared to single people.
In a release from the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Kendler said that the results, “strongly suggest that marriage does indeed directly and substantially reduce risk for onset of alcohol use disorder. It is also especially intriguing that this effect is largest in those at highest risk.”
Despite the many insensitive jokes of spouses being driven to drink by their marriage, this information indicates that they are actually more likely to help reinforce healthier drinking habits, including abstinence.
In the conclusion statements for the study, the authors wrote, “these results are consistent with the hypothesis that the psychological and social aspects of marriage, and in particular health-monitoring spousal interactions, strongly protect against the development of alcohol use disorder. The protective effects of marriage on risk for alcohol use disorder are increased in those at high familial risk for alcoholism.”
In a time where more research seems to look for genetic causes or brain functions relating to substance abuse, it is nice to also see studies about the social influences. All of the information combined together helps us be able to prevent alcohol and drug use disorders better as well as treat people more effectively who develop them.
If you have a loved one struggling with an alcohol problem, contact Desert Cove Recovery today to see how we can help.