Men and women can drive eachother to drink either by messing up, or as a new study shows, by being heavy drinkers themselves.
In monitoring 208 heterosexual couples in their early 20s over a 28-day period, researchers found that they could predict one partner’s binge drinking based on the others drinking pattern.
“Binge drinking in university students occurs in both young men and women. Studies with married couples show that men have more of an influence on women, but in our study, we found both young women and young men influence their partner’s binge drinking,” says Aislin Mushquash, a fourth year PhD student at Dalhousie University.
I’ve seen this dynamic with a female associate who drinks heavily and would always encourage her boyfriend to keep up with her. One of the researchers noted that this finding should serve as a warning to choose partners and friends wisely if you are easily pressured into drinking.
Because alcohol seemed to be a recurring theme among all couples,the researchers say the finding helps explain why so many young people are drinking heavily, but they still need to get to the root of each individual’s drinking and what attracted the partners to one another.
“This research answers some key question but always raises some key questions – do birds of a feather all flock together? Do heavy drinkers naturally gravitate towards each other? Does each partner have a family history of alcoholism? These are questions we don’t yet know the answers to,” says Dr. Simon Sherry, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Dalhousie University.
Have you noticed that you drink more when your boyfriend/husband drinks? Do you influence your partner’s drinking?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.