Study: Do couples who drink together stay together?


A new study reveals some interesting findings about couples and alcohol. As it turns out, the couple who often shares a drink together may be more likely to stay together. 

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Study finds couples who drink together tend to have a better relationship

The study of 4,864 married people (2,767 couples) found that couples who drink alcohol together reported a better quality relationship over time than couples where only one partner drank.

This effect was especially pronounced for women in couples where the man drank and the woman did not drink. 

According to an abstract of the study, ‘Wives who reported drinking alcohol reported decreased negative marital quality over time when husbands also reported drinking and increased negative marital quality over time when husbands reported not drinking.’

The study ran between 2006 and 2016 and all participants had face-to-face interviews with researchers who asked them specifically about their drinking habits. The couples studied had been together for an average of 33 years, and two-thirds of study participants were on their first marriage.

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One theory behind the data

Why is this? One theory says that it may be due to couples spending more leisure time together. 

Dr. Kira Birditt of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and one of the study authors told Reuters, ‘We’re not sure why this is happening, but it could be that couples that do more leisure time activities together have better marital quality.’

But researchers also cautioned about taking this study as an encouragement to drink more. In fact, Dr. Birditt suggested that if one spouse needs to stop drinking for medical reasons or otherwise, the other partner should stop also since spouses have a big impact on each other.


Results not the same for heavy drinkers

In the case of heavy drinkers however, the results may not be as positive. Other studies point to the difficulties heavy drinkers have when it comes to intimate relationships. 

In this study, about 20% of men and 6% of women reported significant drinking problems. Dr. Fred Blow, also at the University of Michigan but not a part of the study commented, ‘Problem drinkers are a whole different kettle of fish,” he said. “Serious heavy drinkers have disruptive relationships with people, particularly their partners. That’s an important issue that should be looked at going forward.”

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