Science Daily 5 Feb 2013
High levels of drinking have repeatedly been shown to predict divorce. The most cited explanation for this is that excessive alcohol use disrupts daily tasks and functioning, and increases spousal conflicts. 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.
Results will be published in the May 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View. “On average, divorced people drink more than married people,” said Fartein Ask Torvik, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health as well as corresponding author for the study. “To some extent, this is due to increased drinking after a divorce, but people who drink heavily also have a higher risk of experiencing a divorce, so heavy drinking likely interferes fundamentally with the quality of marriage.”
…”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.””This latter finding is of major interest,” said Major. “For instance, the risk of divorce is estimated to be tripled when the husband’s level drinking is low and the wife’s drinking is heavy, compared with couples where both drink lightly.””There are several possible explanations for this,” said Torvik. “One of them 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. It is, however, important to note that heavy drinking is much less common among women than among men.””Heavy drinking among women is also less acceptable than among men in our society,” said Major. “A wife’s heavy drinking probably also interferes more with general family life — that is, the caring role of the mother, upbringing of children, etc.