Washington, February 6(ANI): A study of the effects of drinking among husbands versus wives, and of similar versus dissimilar drinking in couples, has found that both level of drinking and compatibility in drinking can have an influence on divorce.

People who drink heavily have a higher risk of experiencing a divorce, so heavy drinking likely interferes fundamentally with the quality of marriage, said Fartein Ask Torvik, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health as well as corresponding author for the study

Torvik and his colleagues used data from a previous health study, in which all inhabitants in a Norwegian county were invited to participate in a health study between 1984 and 1986: 19,977 married couples partook. All participants provided information on alcohol use and mental distress.

Cox regression ("time-to-event" analysis) was used to study the risk for divorce during the next 15 years, using demographics and mental distress as covariates.

"Essentially, the more people drink, the higher is the risk of divorce," said Torvik.

"In addition, the risk of divorce is lowered if the spouses drink approximately the same amount of alcohol. This is not only true for those who drink excessively - there is also a reduced risk of divorce if both spouses abstain totally from alcohol. Also, we found heavy drinking among women to be more strongly associated with divorce than heavy drinking among men," he stated.

There are several possible explanations for this, said Torvik.

One of them, according to him, is that women in general seem to be more strongly affected by heavy drinking than men are. Thus, heavy-drinking women may be more impaired than heavy-drinking men.

However, he noted that heavy drinking is much less common among women than among men.

Furthermore, while the results indicate that compatibility in drinking is important with regard to divorce, a couple with two heavy drinkers still has a higher divorce risk than couples consisting of light drinkers, said Torvik.

He added that alcohol might also lead to other social or health problems.

Results will be published in the May 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View. (ANI)


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