RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new Swedish study finds marriages can help against developing alcohol use disorder.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden have studied the link between marriage and alcoholism.
The study, titled “Effect of Marriage on Risk for Onset of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Longitudinal and Co-Relative Analysis in a Swedish National Sample,” suggests that marriage causally related to a significant reduction in risk for developing an alcohol use disorder.
Researchers say they study scientifically confirms the common observation that alcoholism is bad for marriage and that marriage might help protect against alcoholism.
Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., professor of psychiatry at VCU School o Medicine, is the lead author of the study.
“With this study, we were trying to determine if marriage influences individuals’ future risks for alcohol use disorders,” Dr. Kendleer said. “The answer is yes and actually quite profoundly.”
According to the research, there was a 59 percent reduction in risks of alcoholism in males and 73 percent in females, who were in their first marriage.
“It is the person who is most vulnerable to risks of alcoholism from a genetic background who might be the most sensitive to protective effect of marriage,” Kendler said.
The study involved more than 3.2 million individuals born in Sweden between 1960 and 1990. The people chosen were single at the beginning of the study and had no personal history of alcoholism.
The results of the study show that a person is at higher risk for alcoholism if their spouse is an alcoholic.
“While being married to a spouse who now or in the future stays free of alcohol problems is quite protective, marrying someone who now or in the future develops alcohol problems is in the opposite,” Kendler said. “It is considerably worse than being single.”
The researchers are working on a follow-up study to examine how divorce impacts the development of alcoholism.