As for men, they tend to turn to alcohol to cope with stress as compared to women who turn to food or family members, she said. It's also possible that single men are more likely to hang out with their male friends who enjoy an intoxicating beverage, Reczek added.
Mary Waldron, an assistant professor of Human Development at Indiana University, said research into drinking and marriage -- particularly among people in their 20s -- has been murky. "There is some research to suggest entry into marriage is associated with greater reduction in drinking for women than men," she said. "But other research suggests the opposite, and still other studies report similar reductions in drinking for men and women upon marriage."
The new study is unusual in that it suggests women who have been divorced for a while seem to be at the lowest risk of drinking, Waldron said. That conflicts with previous research.
Why does this study matter? Waldron said: "It's important to consider the role of marriage and transitions out of marriage, through divorce or widowhood, on risks for heavy or problem drinking, including risks for the next generation."
The study is scheduled to be presented Saturday at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Denver. Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
For more on alcohol, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Corinne Reczek, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Cincinnati; Mary Waldron, Ph.D., assistant professor, human development, Indiana University, Bloomington; Aug. 18, 2012, presentation, Amer
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