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Disparity in Drinking Habits May Lead to Divorce

A DUI arrest is only one of many triggers of divorce. A recent study suggests that divorce rates increase where there is a disparity in the drinking habits of partners. A the study, conducted by the University at Buffalo Institute on Addictions found that, through at least the first nine years of marriage, couples in which only one partner is a heavy drinker experienced a higher divorce rate than other couples, including those in which both spouses were heavy drinkers.

The study, slated for publication in the December issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, was carried out over a period of nine years in which researchers followed 634 couples.

Researchers concluded that the difference between a couple’s drinking habits was a bigger factor than the drinking itself when it came to marital dissatisfaction, separation and divorce.  Dr. Kenneth Leonard, director and lead author of the study, cautioned that it does not purport to measure any other aspect of the marriage or family environment, and that even though heavy drinkers tend to stay married, they may create a particularly bad environment for their children.

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