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Drinking alcohol may boost risk of divorce

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Researchers from the Indiana University say alcohol dependence plays an important role in delayed marriage and early separation.

"Previous research documented associations between adolescent substance use and early marriage or cohabitation, but much of this work did not follow participants past their 20s," said Mary Waldron, lead author of the study from the Indiana University School of Education.

Waldron and colleagues recruited more than 5,000 Australian couples in the early 1980s, evaluating physical, psychological and physical manifestations of alcohol use.

They also established age of first marriage and age of separation from the marriage in couples ages 28 to 92.

The study showed a solid relationship between alcohol dependence and delayed marriage, as well as early separation, and genetic influences contributed to these associations for both men and women.

Drinking is a problem if it causes trouble in relationships.

A standard drink in the United States is equal to 13.7 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol, consuming higher amounts in one sitting may cause problems, according to CDC health guideline.

"Young adults who drink alcohol may want to consider the longer-term consequences for marriage," said Waldron. "If drinking continues or increases to levels of problem use, likelihood of marriage, or of having a lasting marriage, may decrease. 

Stephen Lau and editing by Aimee Keenan-Greene

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