Studies out of Sweden suggest that marriage may be a preventative for alcoholism. Over 3 million swedes were examined in for the study. Of those who were married, 60% of men and 70% of women had a reduced likelihood of alcoholism or other alcohol use disorder. Though the scientist claim they cannot determine causality through their study, the findings generally indicated lower numbers of alcoholism in marriage. Causality in this study would indicate that marriage causes an effect of reduction in alcoholism. What the study does indicate is that the association of marriage with alcohol use has an influence.
Can Marriage Prevent Alcoholism?
Out of the 3 million swedes researchers looked at for the study, over 77,000 of them met the criteria for alcohol use disorder. Separately, researchers analyzed the residents’ socioeconomic status, criminal history, previous alcohol use disorders, a family histories of alcoholism. Across the board, the numbers didn’t change. For anyone in a marriage, the prevalence of alcohol use disorders was reduced. There was one interesting exception.
In marriages where one partner had a long history of alcohol abuse, the reduction in alcoholism development was limited. Meaning, that entering a marriage with a partner predisposed to alcoholic behavior increased the risk for developing alcohol use disorder on one’s own.
Conclusively, the researchers found that marriages are a protectant against alcoholism. Marriages that already include alcoholic behavior do not have that same protective quality.
Why this Study Matters
Alcoholism has been a perplexing disease for decades. When Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in the 1930’s it was the only alternative solution to alcoholism from insane asylums. In just 80 years, research into alcoholism has discovered a world of neurobiology, physiology, and psychology that help explain alcoholism. Even social relationships have become a topic of examination. The researchers believe that this interesting data from Sweden can give direction to other researchers to examine social interactions more carefully. Many have theorized that addiction and alcoholism are consequential of a lack of connection. Indeed, twelve step groups encourage community and fellowship along with service to others as necessary parts of recovery.