Early marriage may lead to unsafe drinking behavior by those with higher genetic risk of alcohol use

Two wedding cake toppers of a young white man and woman stand in front of wine and glasses

A new study led by Rebecca Smith, and Dr. Seung Bin Cho made use of a sample of 937 individuals from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA). Their manuscript will be published in a forthcoming issue of Development and Psychopathology  and explores the association between marital status and heavy episodic drinking as well as how marital status interacts with genetic risk for problematic alcohol use.
Despite previous studies demonstrating that marriage protects against risky alcohol use and moderates genetic influences on alcohol outcomes, this study found that this protective factor only held in older adult samples. Their findings indicated that early marriage may actually exacerbate risk for those already carrying genetic risk for alcohol use.
To read the publication, visit Using a Developmental Perspective to Examine the Moderating Effects of Marriage on Heavy Episodic Drinking in a Young Adult Sample Enriched for Risk.