The current study also addresses gender differences and gender as a possible moderator of associations between couple drinking patterns and outcomes, but the literature does not provide evidence for clear gender expectations. Compatibility between romantic partners predicts positive relationship quality. This study examines how young adult drinking partnerships ages 18—26 are associated with later consequences in adulthood ages 26—35 by focusing on one primary hypothesis rooted in compatibility theory: These results may reflect a more general phenomenon whereby partner similarity both attracts couples and reinforces couple behaviors.
With minor differences, these studies identified four to five groups of drinking partnerships. Because this is a new research direction, there are no expectations for relationship dissolution to affect or not affect the association between couple drinking patterns and outcomes. Drinking compatibility should be an important issue for unmarried romantic partners as well as married couples. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. These results may reflect a more general phenomenon whereby partner similarity both attracts couples and reinforces couple behaviors. It is theory based and longitudinal, uses a national sample, includes couple data within three types of relationships dating, cohabiting, and married , uses controls for possible third variables, and tests the generalizability of the findings across relationship type, gender, and relationship dissolution. Method Data are from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Add Health; Udry and Bearman, ; see Udry, , for design information , which is a school-based, nationally representative and longitudinal study of health-related behaviors of adolescents and later outcomes that began in To compare drinking partnerships across studies, the current drinking partnership analysis set the number of clusters to four. If respondents indicated that the relationship length was more than 6 years overlap with Wave III and the relationship status was the same or in a more committed status i. If the length was less than 6 years, then the participant was coded as having a different partner, indicating dissolution of the Wave III relationship. Dating, cohabiting, and married young adult couples ages 18—26 have displayed congruent and discrepant drinking partnerships as well Wiersma and colleagues, , Despite the appeal and empirical evidence for compatibility theory, there are also results that are seemingly at odds with compatibility theory in that, when couples consume large quantities of alcohol, they have a higher risk of experiencing relationship problems Roberts and Leonard, ; Wiersma et al. Alcohol use at Wave IV used the same items as at Wave III for frequency and quantity of drinking in the past 12 months see Drinking partnerships, below. In addition, open-ended responses were given for quantity of alcohol consumed: Among older adults, discrepantly drinking couples had higher rates of divorce than congruently drinking adults Ostermann et al. But as Fleming et al. However, in research on couples, alcohol-related problems were found only within discrepantly drinking couples Wiersma et al. As well, depression at Wave III was used as a control variable, similar to previous research that controlled for mental illness Torvik et al. Serious alcohol problems was assessed with 10 items during Wave IV only there is no equivalent measure prior to this wave. However, heavy congruent drinking did not impair relationship satisfaction Homish and Leonard, , For example, incongruent drinking partnerships experienced steeper declines in martial satisfaction compared with couples in which both were heavy drinkers or neither were heavy drinkers. Frequency of alcohol consumption was estimated by partners individually answering the following question: Research demonstrates that there are many consequences for couples who drink discrepantly Fischer and Wiersma, How many drinks did you usually have each time? Generalizing from compatibility theory, if frequent drinking is a principal and enjoyable part of social interaction, then couples will make positive evaluations of these relationships. This study examines the association among young adult drinking partnerships and adult alcohol-related consequences and relationship problems 6 years later.
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