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Subst Use Misuse. 2016 Sep 18;51(11):1441-50. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1178295. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Heavy Alcohol Use in the Couple Context: A Nationally Representative Longitudinal Study.

Author information

1
a School of Social Science, The University of Queensland , Brisbane , Australia.
2
b Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, Royal Womens and Brisbane Hospital , Brisbane , Australia.
3
c School of Economics, The University of Queensland , Brisbane , Australia.
4
d ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, The University of Queensland , Brisbane , Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

For young couples, a partner's heavy alcohol use may be a point of conflict and relationship distress, particularly when there are disparities in the severity of drinking across partners.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim was to examine the longitudinal impact of discrepancies in heavy alcohol use, particularly in couples with parenting responsibilities.

METHODS:

Data were obtained from 554 heterosexual couples (with at least one partner aged between 18 and 30 years of age) over two assessments from a well-established longitudinal study of Australian households.

RESULTS:

Multilevel analyses (examining time within partners within couples) indicated a high level of couple-level variation in individual reports of relationship satisfaction. Discrepancies in heavy alcohol use were negatively associated with relationship satisfaction over the assessment period and this was significantly moderated by parenthood. More specifically, heavy drinking discrepancies were associated with lower relationship satisfaction amongst parents more than nonparents.

CONCLUSION:

Among dissatisfied couples, managing discrepancies in alcohol use and helping heavy drinking partners may be an important intervention focus, particularly when providing professional support for young parents.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol; couples; heavy drinking; parental status; relationship satisfaction

PMID:
27366962
DOI:
10.1080/10826084.2016.1178295
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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