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Study looks at how alcohol use factors into divorce

As unfortunately as it may be, alcohol use has played a role in many divorces here in Florida and across the country. While most readers can likely understand how alcohol use, especially in excess, can lead to marital problems, there hasn’t been a lot of research to back up this idea – until now.

A recent study, which followed more than 600 couples for nine years starting from when they got married, reveals that there is a higher tendency for divorce when only one spouse is a heavy drinker. In this study, a heavy drinker is defined as someone who drinks until they are drunk or someone who drinks six or more alcoholic beverages at one time.

In marriages where one spouse drank heavily, while the other did not, nearly 50 percent of those couples divorced. On the other hand, as probably expected, in marriage where neither person drinks heavily, the rate of divorce was 30 percent.

Interestingly, the study also found that when both spouses are heavy drinkers, those couples did not have a higher divorce rate than the couples where neither person drank excessively. A researcher pointed out that this may be because a heavy drinker may be more tolerant of their spouse’s drinking based on their own habits.

Alcohol is one of many factors that can lead to divorce and ultimately, the decision to split is a very personal one. Depending on the circumstances of a marriage – that decision could be based on one big issue or a multitude of little issues.

Source:, "Couples with only one a heavy drinker tend to have higher divorce rate," Nov. 24, 2013

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