Married Women Drink More, Study Finds

By Emily Murray

It may come as a bit of a surprise that marriage causes women, not men, to drink more but according to a new study that’s just how it works.

It’s not due to unhappiness or stress however, this increase in alcohol consumption has been said to come directly from the influence of her husband as she begins to mirror his habits. That’s not to say that all men drink a lot by any means but statistically men do drink more than their female peers.

Once men are married however the opposite takes place.

Rather than spending time with their guy friends having a few beers after work, in the evenings or on the weekends they are spending more time with their wives and therefore their alcohol intake actually decreases – however it’s still a bit more than the average for women and in social situations she may drink more as a result.

This information was recently released at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting.

Aside from this information regarding the relationship between alcohol and marriage, the study also discovered that men who are divorced are at the highest risk for abusing alcohol.

Alcohol usage is perhaps the most commonly researched and studied pattern of behavior but this is one of the first studies to actually break down that usage not by age or income but by relationship status. This also encompasses past relationship status, like widowed, never-married and divorced for instance.

The research was a combination of questionnaires and interviews conducted with study participants looking at thousands of people and their patterns of drinking. Contrary to what other researchers have found, drinking as a whole for both men and women does not decrease once they are married. What stands out here however is something that makes sense – whether the behavior is healthy or destructive, the actions of our spouses affects our own behavior.

While the practical application of the study is likely not life changing, perhaps it can serve as a motivator to be certain we are influencing our partners in a positive way.