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J Fam Psychol. 2016 Sep;30(6):698-707. doi: 10.1037/fam0000221. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

Is marriage a buzzkill? A twin study of marital status and alcohol consumption.

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Department of Psychology, University of Virginia.
Department of Psychology & Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California.
Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Nutrition & Exercise Physiology Program, Washington State University - Health Sciences.


Married adults have consistently been found to drink less than their single or divorced counterparts. This correlation may not be causal, however, as people nonrandomly "select" into marriage and into alcohol use. The current study uses a sample of 2,425 same-sex twin pairs (1,703 MZ; 722 DZ) to control for genetic and shared environmental selection, thereby eliminating a great many third variable, alternative explanations to the hypothesis that marriage causes less drinking. Married twins were compared with their single, divorced, and cohabiting cotwins on drinking frequency and quantity. Married cotwins consumed fewer alcoholic beverages than their single or divorced cotwins, and drank less frequently than their single cotwins. Alcohol use patterns did not differ among married and cohabiting twins. These findings provide strong evidence that intimate relationships cause a decline in alcohol consumption. (PsycINFO Database Record.

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