SCIENCE: You Can Finally Blame Your Wife For Your Drinking


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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Husbands can blame their wives for their heavy drinking habits, according to a new study.

Researchers conducted a three-year study of 179 heterosexual couples in serious relationships, and concluded that both partners were to blame for heavy episodic drinking behavior in either partner. The researchers, however, found that this influence was not as powerful as either partner’s past drinking behavior.

“Binge drinking in couples is not an isolated activity, but rather is heavily influenced by one’s romantic partner,” Sara J. Bartel, a scientist at Dalhousie University who was involved in the research, told PsyPost. “We found that binge drinking in one member of a couple predicts the binge drinking of the other member of the couple three years later.”

The study found that women influenced their partner’s binge drinking just as much as men influenced their partner’s binge drinking. Scientists controlled for partner selection, so that an individual wasn’t simply choosing a romantic partners with similar drinking patterns.

“To offer an example, imagine that John and Emma live together as a romantic couple,” Bartel continued. “John’s level of binge drinking in 2014 predicts Emma’s level of binge drinking in 2017, and the more John binge drinks in 2014, the more Emma binge drinks in 2017. The reverse is also true, with Emma equally influencing John’s binge drinking. Our study suggests couples form drinking partnerships that encourage binge drinking.”

Roughly one in five adults engage in binge drinking, which has serious health and social consequences.

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