Early marriage may lead to unsafe drinking behavior by those with higher genetic risk of alcohol use

July 2, 2020

A young woman drinking from a stemmed glass and holding out a wedding ring

A new study by EDGE Lab graduate student, Rebecca Smith, and former EDGE Lab research associate, Dr. Seung Bin Cho to be published in a forthcoming issue of Development and Psychopathology explores the association between marital status and heavy episodic drinking as well as how marital status interacts with genetic risk for problematic alcohol use. 

Despite previous studies demonstrating that marriage protects against risky alcohol use and moderates genetic influences on alcohol outcomes, this study found that this protective factor only held in older adult samples. Their findings indicated that early marriage may actually exacerbate risk for those already carrying genetic risk for alcohol use.

To learn more about the study in Rebecca Smith's words, visit the VCU News Press Release.

To read the publication, visit Using a Developmental Perspective to Examine the Moderating Effects of Marriage on Heavy Episodic Drinking in a Young Adult Sample Enriched for Risk.