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Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2007;3:285-310.

Marital and family processes in the context of alcohol use and alcohol disorders.

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Research Institute on Addiction, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA.


Alcohol use is often part of the fabric of marriage and family life, and although it is associated with certain positive effects, excessive drinking and alcohol disorders can exert a negative effect on the marital development and on the development of children in the context of the family. This review considers evidence that alcohol influences and is influenced by marital/family processes, including transitions into marriage and parenthood, marital satisfaction, marital violence, parenting, and child development. The review discusses the importance of antisocial behavior and the need to examine women's drinking, and the joint impact of men's and women's drinking on marital/family processes. The review highlights the lack of studies in certain key areas, including the link between discordant drinking and violence and marital satisfaction, the role of alcohol in child neglect, and the potential role of marital conflict as a mediator or moderator of the relationship between alcohol and child functioning.

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