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Does Marriage Drive You to Drink?

A new study finds that married women are up for a toast or two

Photograph by Getty Images

Wives are boozers. Single ladies, not so much.

A new study from the University of Cincinnati has found that married women drink more than their single counterparts—and even more than divorced women.

Researchers studied more than 5,000 adults over 11 years and found that while on average, divorced women enjoy six and a half drinks per month, married women knock back nine. Meanwhile, men who are married actually drink less than divorced men—downing 19.2 drinks a month as opposed to the 21.5 drinks divorced men do.

So why are women drinking more in marriage? And why are men drinking less? It has to do with couples meeting in the middle, says study author Corinne Reczek, Ph.D, assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at the University of Cincinnati. Many women are introduced to alcohol by their husbands, and drink significantly more after they are married, says Reczek. While wives tend to fill up to keep up with their husbands’ drinking, men cut back, drinking less to match the habits of their wives.

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When couples get divorced, men often turn to alcohol to deal with stress and are prone to more nights out at the bars with their friends. Women, however, are likely to drink less since their alcohol supplier is no longer in the house. What’s more, women often turn to food to deal with stress, she says.

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