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Research studies link between couples' drinking, divorce

It turns out, unsurprisingly, that the various drinking behaviors of you and your spouse could have a palpable effect on the health and long-term prospects of your marriage. A new study examining almost 20,000 couples found that spouses consuming the same amount of alcohol were less likely to divorce than couples whose drinking habits varied greatly from one spouse to the other. The risk of divorce is even higher when it is the woman in the couple exhibiting excessive drinking behavior.

The large data set provided researchers with a wealth of information that could be helpful in predicting risk rates for divorce, and how those rates are affected by various types of drinking behavior. The data found a correlation between high divorce rates and high alcohol consumption. Another interesting statistic noted a 26.8 percent divorce rate for couples where the woman engaged in "hazardous drinking." When the roles were flipped, though, divorce rates were cut by more than half.

And those rates are higher than in cases where both spouses are heavy drinkers, in which case the divorce rate was 17.2 percent.

Although the study was conducted in Norway, the findings can likely be postulated to couples in Florida and throughout the United States. One researcher noted that the high divorce rate among couples with a heavy-drinking female and moderate or light-drinking male may owe partially to heavy alcohol use among women being judged by some men "as incompatible with female roles."

The researchers recommended that individuals seek out spouses who share similar drinking habits.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Heavy drinking, 'incompatible drinking' tied to divorce, study says," Eryn Brown, Feb. 6, 2013

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