Marriage makes women drink more and men drink less: study

Nadine Bells
Shine OnAugust 20, 2012

Marriage might drive a woman to drink, but it isn't because she's unhappy, says new research.

A recent study shows that married women start to drink more after they get married because they are influenced by their husbands who drink more than them. Conversely, married men drink less after tying the knot, as they have less drinking time with their buddies and their wives encourage them to limit their alcohol intake, reports LiveScience.

"Stable marriage curbs men's drinking yet is associated with a slightly higher level of alcohol use among women," the authors write in the soon-to-be-published paper.

Researchers looked at data from 5,305 Wisconsin men and women who were surveyed about their drinking habits in 1993 and again in 2004, and combined the data with 120 in-depth interviews of single, divorced and widowed individuals.

The men in the study, regardless of marital status, drank more than women.

Also see: Fertility study suggests men prefer ovulating women: Bunk science or evolutionary truth?

While previous studies have consistently shown that married people drink less than their single counterparts, the new research found that married women actually drink more than single women.

The data also showed divorce affected drinking habits. Women's alcohol consumption dropped significantly after a divorce.

"The transition to divorce was discussed in relation to depression symptoms, which resulted in abstaining from both food and alcohol," the authors write — while men upped their intake, putting them at risk of alcohol abuse.

Also see: When women are scarce, men spend more and save less: study

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver, Colorado.

The researchers hope to expand their research to examine how widowhood affects alcohol use over time, Psych Central News reports.

Health Canada reports that an estimated 4 to 5 million Canadians engage in high-risk drinking.

Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommend no more than two drinks a day — stopping at 10 drinks a week — for women. Men should limit themselves to 15 drinks a week, at no more than three a day.

Read the other guidelines, including "special occasions" guidelines, and when to not drink at all, here.

Married women, did you start drinking more after you said "I do"?

Watch the video below for the number one thing couples fight about.

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