Popular culture often depicts men, particularly married men, as bar flies guilty of using any excuse get a drink with friends but, in reality, researchers reveal that being married is actually driving their wives to drink.
While men tend to curb the amount of alcohol they drink after exchanging their vows, the opposite is true for women, according to a new study.
After analyzing data involving 2,439 men and 2,866 women living in Wisconsin, researchers found that women who've tied the knot tend to drink more heavily than single women, widows or divorcees compared to married men who drink less than bachelors, divorced and widowed men.
Results from the new study, presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, show that while marriage appears to lead to more alcohol consumption among middle-aged women, divorce seems to drive middle-aged men to seek comfort in the bottle.
Lead researcher Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, and her team say that the latest findings suggest that husbands are to blame for their wives' drinking habits.
Researchers conclude that while women tend to help keep their husbands' drinking habits under control, men are simply a bad influence on their wives.
While past studies found that married people tend to drink less than those who weren't married, suggesting that having a stable home life can promote good health, Reczek and her team said that past research did not separate married and non-married groups by gender.
A separate study consisting of 120 interviews with married, divorced, widowed and single people about their lifestyles was also included in the recent findings.
Reczek found that while on average men consistently drink more than women and were more likely to have a drinking problem, married men on average drank significantly less than men in every other marital status group.
Researchers concluded that getting married or divorced had a “dynamic relationship” on alcohol consumption, but in opposite ways for men and women.
While divorced men drink significantly more than men who were happily married, divorced women actually drank less than those who were still married, despite the stress of a marital break-up.
“Our qualitative results suggest this occurs because men introduce and prompt women’s drinking, and because divorced women lose the influence of men’s alcohol use upon dissolution,” researchers concluded, according to The Telegraph.
“Additionally, our survey results show that continuously married men drink less than men in all other marital status groups, especially recently divorced men,” researchers added.
In 2011, researchers at Cardiff University found that married people were more likely to have healthy eating habits and were 15 percent less likely to die prematurely compared to single people.