The behaviour of a binge drinker is likely to influence the person with whom he or she is romantically involved, according to a study by Canadian researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Researchers studied 208 unmarried, heterosexual couples who saw each other at least five days each week. The participants were all in their early twenties, dating for a minimum of three months, and at least one of them had to be a college or university student. The researchers found that they were able to predict the likelihood that one partner would binge drink based on the behaviour of their partner.
The findings suggest that many young adults become binge drinkers because the person they are dating is one and that the influence was not gender specific — that women were as likely to influence men as vice versa.
“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,” researcher Aislin Mushquash wrote.
“In some respect this is a cautionary piece of research. Pick your friends and lovers carefully because they influence you more than you think,” commented Simon Sherry, an assistant professor at the Dalhousie University Department of Psychology. “We’re not so naive as researchers to think students are going to walk away from binge drinking. But our study shows there’s a large majority of students who form romantic partnerships where alcohol is a regularly occurring theme,” he added.
Source: Mushquash, A. R., Stewart, S. H., Sherry, S. B., Mackinnon, S. P., Antony, M. M., & Sherry, D. L. (2011, December 12). Heavy Episodic Drinking Among Dating Partners: A Longitudinal Actor. Partner Interdependence Model. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026653