Study Suggests Men Drink More after Divorce While Women Drink Less

A study presented at the American Sociological Association annual meeting concluded that men are more likely than women to turn to drinking after divorce. The study also found that, as a whole, married men appear to drink less than their single and divorced counterpart, but married women drink more than there divorced or widowed friends.

The research team, led by Corinne Reczek, assistant professor in sociology at the University of Cincinnati, looked at data collected from surveys of a random sample of 5,000 Wisconsin high school graduates of the class of 1957. The original research team contacted each of the subjects four times over a 47-year period. Reczek and her team examined survey responses from this group, after which they conducted in-depth interviews with 120 of the participants to determine why their drinking habits changed.

“Marriage and divorce have different consequences for men's and women's alcohol use,” Dr. Corinne Reczek told Health Day. “For men, it's tempered by being married and exacerbated by being divorced.”

The study found that while divorce causes men to drink more, women actually tend to go back to drinking less. Possible explanations for this, according to the researchers, could be that a husband’s heavy drinking may put couples at a higher risk of divorce. Another possibility is that, for men at least, the stress of the divorce may have prompted increased drinking.

Many of the divorced women interviewed in the study said that either divorce depressed and turned them away from alcohol, or they drank less because they were no longer around their husbands drinking.

Although this research is not conclusive and more study needs to be done, the research may help physicians better recognize risk factors for problem drinking in patients in correlation to their social lives.

If you are going through a divorce, contact a qualified DuPage County family law attorney to represent you. Issues such as child custody, assets, property and other decisions that need to be negotiated may be even harder to work through if your spouse has a drinking problem, making it even more imperative you have a knowledgeable attorney representing you.

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