Marriage and alcohol use: a longitudinal study of "maturing out"

J Stud Alcohol. 1991 Sep;52(5):434-40. doi: 10.15288/jsa.1991.52.434.


Earlier findings have suggested that marriage may provide protection from a variety of physical and psychological problems. In particular, numerous studies have demonstrated a consistent relationship between marital status and alcohol use. To examine this relationship more carefully, we performed a longitudinal analysis of data collected on the Youth Cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience. Four marital transition groups were constructed based upon marital status across a 3-year period: stably single, married year 3, married year 2 and stably married. Results of repeated-measures MANCOVAS performed on alcohol-use patterns across time as a function of marital-transition group supported the notion that individuals begin moderating their alcohol consumption prior to their actual transition to married status with the trend continuing into the first year of marriage. The data further suggested that this decline in alcohol use stabilizes shortly thereafter, apparently within 1 year after marriage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marriage*
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Social Environment