Are daughters of alcoholics more likely to marry alcoholics?

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1994;20(2):237-45. doi: 10.3109/00952999409106784.


This study evaluates the relationship between having an alcoholic (i.e., alcohol-dependent) parent and the presence of a spouse with a similar diagnosis. Data relating to 708 men and 708 women, the parents of the questionnaire respondents, revealed that even after controlling for the increased rate of alcohol-dependent spouses among alcoholics, assortative mating appears to be associated with positive family histories of alcoholism. Within this sample, nonalcoholic daughters of alcoholics were more than twice as likely to marry an alcoholic as nonalcoholic daughters of nonalcoholics, irrespective of the alcoholic parent's gender. In contrast, in the same sample daughters of alcoholics did not demonstrate a higher rate for having a spouse with another of the more common psychiatric syndromes, a major depressive episode. In this sample, sons of alcoholics did not demonstrate an increased rate for marrying an alcoholic when compared to sons of nonalcoholics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / genetics
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Codependency, Psychological
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Personality Development*