New research from University of Missouri suggests that if you are young and already having a drinking problem, finding a partner to tie the knot may help you return to a normal life again.
Marriage can cause dramatic reductions among young people with severe drinking problems, the findings showed. The researchers used previously collected data from a long-term, ongoing study of familial alcohol disorders.
They examined how the drinking rates of the participants changed as they aged from age 18 to 40, and how this change was affected by whether or not participants became married. About 50 percent of the participants included in the study of familial alcoholism were children of alcoholics.
"Confirming our prediction, we found that marriage not only led to reductions in heavy drinking in general, this effect was much stronger for those who were severe problem drinkers before getting married," said one of the researchers Matthew Lee from University of Missouri in the US.
"This seems consistent with role incompatibility theory. We believe that greater problem drinking likely conflicts more with the demands of roles like marriage; thus, more severe problem drinkers are likely required to more substantially alter their drinking habits to adapt to the marital role," Lee noted.
The role incompatibility theory suggests that if a person's existing behavioral pattern is conflicting with the demands of a new role, such as marriage, one way to resolve the incompatibility is to change behavior, Lee explained.
Scientists believe that the findings could help improve clinical efforts to help these people, inform public health policy changes and lead to more targeted interventions for young adult problem drinkers.
The findings appeared in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research