New research shows that married men drink less than other men, but married women actually drink more than other women.
Based on survey data and interviews, researchers revealed that married men reported consuming the lowest number of drinks, compared with single, divorced, and widowed men. The researchers say that’s, in part, because of their wives’ lower levels of drinking.
Men also were more likely than women to turn to drinking after a divorce, according to the study.
The researchers also found that married women consumed more drinks than long-term divorced or recently widowed women, in part, they said, because they lived with men who had higher levels of alcohol use.
The researchers, including Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati; Tetyana Pudrovska, an assistant professor of sociology and demography at The Pennsylvania State University; Deborah Carr, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University; and Debra Umberson, a professor of sociology at University of Texas at Austin, analyzed data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, as well as data from two interview studies, the Marital Quality Over the Life Course Project, conducted between 2003-2006, and the Relationships and Health Habits Over the Life Course Study, conducted between 2007-2010.
The researchers also found that:
- In each marital status category, men consumed a greater average number of drinks than women;
- Across every marital status category, a higher proportion of men than women also reported having at least one drinking-related problem;
- Recently divorced men reported consuming a significantly greater average number of drinks than men in long-term marriages;
- Reporting at least one drinking-related problem was significantly higher among long-term divorced and recently divorced women than long-term married women.
The researchers, who gauged alcohol consumption by total number of drinks consumed in a month, suggest that future research examine how widowhood shapes alcohol use over time, as well as explore alcohol use differences across race-ethnicity.