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Divorce and widowhood: A risk for alcohol abuse disorder: new research shows th at people who are married tend to abuse alcohol less than their divorced or widowed counterparts.

Divorce and loss of a spouse are frequently precursors to alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to a recent Swedish study of 942,366 men and women. On the upside, remarriage offers protective benefits against subsequent AUD, researchers found, due to many marriage benefits, including spousal monitoring and moderating one another's health-related behaviors. The study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, May 2017.

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Contributory Factors. Confounding factors such as social class, genetic liability, and personality traits that predispose to both AUD and divorce also play a role in the divorce-AUD link. Other studies have shown that heavy drinkers have an increased risk for divorce. Low parental education, prior deviant behavior, and family history of AUD also are contributory factors. Divorced people are more likely to engage in alcohol-related risky behaviors and to have higher alcohol-related mortality. Researchers found that spousal loss through death was likely to have fewer contributory factors than divorce.

Researchers found that seven to 10 years prior to divorce, rates of AUD onset are lower or similar among people with or without a future divorce. However, the rate of AUD begins to rise in those with a divorce in their future, consistent with a dissolving marriage. AUD peaks in the year of the divorce, and remaining substantially elevated for the next 15 years in people who don't remarry. In people with AUD preceding a first marriage, divorce increases the risk of relapse. Findings are the same for both men and women, and mirror findings from a Dutch study as well as a Michigan study in which the risk for an alcohol disorder after divorce was substantially elevated.

Widowhood. As with divorce, bereavement is associated with increases in alcohol intake and excess alcohol-related mortality. Researchers found a much larger risk for AUD in females (but not males) who were widowed and whose spouses did not have a history of AUD, suggesting that the married state and its associated social roles are protective against AUD, researchers say. It also shows the importance of direct spousal monitoring or controlling of spousal drinking, they add. A spouse without AUD is likely to be more effective at such control than a spouse with AUD. Researchers noted the "profound" impact of marriage on problematic alcohol use, and the importance of monitoring divorced or widowed people for AUD.

Bottom Line. Marriage--it's good for your health and for your well being,

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Title Annotation:MIND & MEMORY
Publication:Duke Medicine Health News
Date:Jul 1, 2017
Words:399
Previous Article:Internal Medicine.
Next Article:Help avoid alcohol abuse disorder.
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