Marital Histories and Heavy Alcohol Use among Older Adults

TitleMarital Histories and Heavy Alcohol Use among Older Adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsReczek, C, Pudrovska, T, Carr, D, Thomeer, MBeth, Umberson, DJ
JournalJournal of Health and Social Behavior
KeywordsAdult children, Health Conditions and Status

We develop a gendered marital biography approachwhich emphasizes the accumulating gendered experiences of singlehood, marriage, marital dissolution, and remarriage to examine the relationship between marital statuses and transitions and heavy alcohol use. We test this approach using individual-level (n= 10,457) and couple-level (n= 2,170) longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study, and individual-level (n= 46) and couple-level (n= 42) in-depth interview data. Quantitative results show that marriage, including remarriage, reduces men's but increases women's drinking relative to being never married and previously married, whereas divorce increases men's but decrease women's drinking, with some variation by age. Our qualitative findings reveal that social control and convergence processes underlie quantitative results. We call attention to how men's and women's heavy drinking trajectories stop, start, and change direction as individuals move through their distinctive marital biography.


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Endnote Keywords

marital status/alcohol use/drinking trajectories/drinking

Endnote ID


Citation Key8373
PubMed ID26957135
PubMed Central IDPMC4785832