The effects of adolescent heavy drinking on the timing and stability of cohabitation and marriage

Lela Williams, Laura Wray-Lake, Eric Loken, Jennifer L. Maggs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on prospective British Cohort Study data, adolescent alcohol use predicted the timing and stability of committed partnerships between 16 and 34 years (n = 3278; 59% female). Propensity score methods balanced age 16 heavy drinkers (32%) and nonheavy drinkers on a range of relevant risk factors assessed in infancy and childhood. Adolescent heavy drinking predicted having ever cohabited, earlier transitions into cohabiting and marital relationships, more breakups, and an increased likelihood of divorce. Gender and social class moderated these relationships; heavy-drinking working-class males were especially likely to cohabit and to experience early entry into cohabitation and marriage. Implications for practitioners focus on the benefits of reducing adolescent heavy drinking and precocious transitions to committed partnerships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalFamilies in Society
Volume93
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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