237733 Women's drinking outcomes predicted by divorce or separation from a problem drinking spouse: Findings from NESARC

Monday, October 31, 2011

Philip H. Smith, MS , Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Gregory G. Homish, PhD , Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, The State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD , Research Institute on Addictions, The State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Jack R. Cornelius, MD , Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Marital dissolution can lead individuals to more problematic alcohol consumption. However, given evidence that one's spouse can influence drinking, divorce from a problem drinker may conceivably lead to improved drinking outcomes. Data were analyzed from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) to examine whether a partner's problem drinking prior to marital dissolution moderated the dissolution's effect on women's drinking. Women married or living as if married at wave 1 (N=18,413) were examined for drinking outcomes three years later at wave 2 (past year quantity, frequency, alcohol problem count, and abuse/dependence diagnosis). Marital dissolution was limited to at least 1 year prior to wave 2. Logistic, tobit, and negative binomial regression were used for binary, bounded, and count outcomes, respectively. Analyses accounted for the complex survey design. Covariates included age, wave 1 drinking (corresponding to each model's outcome), education, and race/ethnicity. There were significant interactions between divorce/separation and partner problem drinking in all models (p<0.001). Marital dissolution predicted increased frequency of drinking regardless of the partner's problem drinking. Divorce/separation from a partner without a drinking problem also predicted increases in quantity of alcohol consumed (RR=1.23, 95%CI=1.15,1.31), alcohol related problems (RR=1.23, 95%CI=1.15,1.31) and likelihood of abuse/dependence diagnoses (OR=1.14, 95%CI=0.80,1.62), while dissolution involving a problem drinking partner predicted decreases in quantity consumed (RR=0.93, 95%CI=0.87,0.98) and alcohol related problems (RR=0.71, 95%CI=0.57,0.88), with no change in the likelihood of abuse/dependence diagnoses. Results suggest that marital dissolution may lead to less problematic drinking for women when a problem drinking partner is involved.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess the impact of marital dissolution on subsequent drinking outcomes in women. Assess whether the effect of marital dissolution on subsequent drinking outcomes in women is moderated by the problem drinking status of the spouse prior to dissolution.

Keywords: Alcohol, Epidemiology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have experience conducting and presenting similar epidemiologic research on substance use.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.