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Addict Behav. 2017 Jun;69:55-58. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.01.020. Epub 2017 Jan 12.

Do romantic partners influence each other's heavy episodic drinking? Support for the partner influence hypothesis in a three-year longitudinal study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Life Sciences Centre, 1355 Oxford Street, PO BOX 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada. Electronic address: Sara.Bartel@dal.ca.
2
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Life Sciences Centre, 1355 Oxford Street, PO BOX 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada.
3
Brock University, Department of Child and Youth Studies, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON L2S3A1, Canada.
4
Lakehead University, Department of Psychology, 955 Oliver Rd., Thunder Bay, ON P7B5E1, Canada.
5
University of Buffalo, Department of Psychology, 12 Capen Hall, Buffalo, NY, USA; University of Buffalo, Department of Psychiatry, 12 Capen Hall, Buffalo, NY, USA.
6
York University, Department of Psychology, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON M3J1P3, Canada.
7
Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, 5909 Veterans' Memorial Lane, 8th Floor, Abbie J. Lane Memorial Building, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS B3H 2E2, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Approximately one in five adults engage in heavy episodic drinking (HED), a behavior with serious health and social consequences. Environmental, intrapersonal, and interpersonal factors contribute to and perpetuate HED. Prior research supports the partner influence hypothesis where partners influence each other's HED.

OBJECTIVES:

We examined the partner influence hypothesis longitudinally over three years in heterosexual couples in serious romantic relationships, while exploring possible sex differences in the magnitude of partner influence.

METHODS:

One-hundred-and-seventy-nine heterosexual couples in serious relationships (38.5% married at baseline) completed a measure of HED at baseline and again three years later.

RESULTS:

Using actor-partner interdependence modelling, results showed actor effects for both men and women, with HED remaining stable for each partner from baseline to follow-up. Significant partner effects were found for both men and women, who both positively influenced their partners' HED over the three-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS:

The partner influence hypothesis was supported. Results indicated partner influences on HED occur over the longer term and apply to partners in varying stages of serious romantic relationships (e.g., cohabiting, engaged, married). Women were found to influence their partners' HED just as much as men influence their partners' HED. Findings suggest HED should be assessed and treated as a couples' issue rather than simply as an individual risky behavior.

KEYWORDS:

Binge drinking; Heavy episodic drinking; Sex differences; Social learning theory

PMID:
28131933
DOI:
10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.01.020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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