Is alcohol dependence associated with marital status? (discussion below after the review)
Marital status is a major psychosocial predictor of alcohol problems. It becomes one of the critical point of consideration in alcohol rehabilitation and relapse prevention programs. In never married and separated individuals, significant increase in heavy drinking was observed with adverse alcohol-related health consequences occurring immediately around divorce. In the same study, it was observed that heavy drinking declined with ageing from 23 to 33 years (21.4-13.0% in men, 6.4-3.4% in women).
On the contrary, in a Kenyan study marital status did not significantly influence the alcohol abuse in patients who attended comprehensive care centre, Kenyatta National Hospital. However, the major risk factors found in this study were depressive disorders and gender. Males were more susceptible to alcohol abuse when compared to females.
In the Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA), both marital status and GABRA-2 gene were independently related to alcohol problems. There were significant correlations observed between; marital status and alcohol dependence, GABRA-2 and alcohol dependence, marital status and, GABRA-2 and interaction between marital status and GABRA-2 on alcohol dependence.
I would like to study exact correlation between marital status and alcohol abuse/dependence using large US population sample. Going with promising results from COGA, I hypothesize that marital status can significantly influence alcohol consumption.
The U.S. National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) is a survey designed to determine the magnitude of alcohol use and psychiatric disorders in the U.S. population. Using the data set made available from NESARC, I have selected all the variables that relate to marital status (9 variables) and alcohol dependence (31 variables) along with age and gender information.
Search terms used: “martital status” and “alcohol dependence”
The correlation should be significant enough for rejecting the null hypothesis or accepting the alternate hypothesis.
Null hypothesis: Marital status does not influence alcohol dependence.
Alternate hypothesis: Marital status influences quantity, frequency and dependence of alcohol consumption.
I have taken into account all the variables that can possibly help me in understanding the correlation.
Firstly, I will look for divorcees, widow/ers and compare them to married individuals based on their alcohol consumption pattern.
Next, I will focus on number of unsuccessful marriages for the separated individuals and additional responsibilities (single parenting children) to study and compare their alcohol use behaviour against married individuals.
In both the cases, unmarried individuals will act as a control for alcohol use pattern. drinking more than 4 (for women) and 5 (for men) at once is considered excessive.
Alcohol abuse: Marital status ‘MARITAL’ vs how often drank 5+ drinks of any alcohol in last 12 months ‘S2AQ8E’ and 4+women only ‘S2AQ9’
Alcohol dependence: Marital status ‘MARITAL’ vs ever had to drink more to get the effect wanted ‘S2BQ1A2’ and secondary variable created by grouping all variables listed in table 3.
I will use SAS programming for the study.
Please follow my blog to find the evidences on the course and results once the study is complete.
Table 1: Marital parameters:
||unique ID number
||age in years
||current marital staus
||number of marriages
||age at first marriage
||how first marriage ended
||age when stopped living with first spouse
||age when married current spouse
||number of children ever had, including, adoptive, step and foster children
||age when first child born/started living together
||age when last child born/started living together
Alcohol consumption variables:
Table 2: Alcohol abuse variables:
|| drank at least 1 alcoholic drink in life
||drank at least 12 alcoholic drinks in last 12 months
||drank at least 1 alcoholic drink in last 12 months
||how often drink any alcohol in last 12 months
|| number of drinks of any alcohol usually consumer on days when drank alcohol in last 12 months
||largest number of drinks of any alcohol consumed on days when drank alcohol in last 12 months
||how often drank largest number of drinks of any alcohol in last 12 months
||how often drank 5+ drinks of any alcohol in last 12 months
||how often drank 4+ drinks of any alcohol in last 12 months (women only)
||how often drank enough to feel intoxicated in last 12 months
||how many drinks can hold without feeling intoxicated
||number of years drank same as in last 12 months
||duration (years) of period of heaviest drinking
||how often drank any alcohol during period of heaviest drinking
||number of drinks of any alcohol usually consumed on days when drank alcohol during period of heaviest drinking
||largest number of drinks of any alcohol consumed on days when drank alcohol during period of heaviest drinking
||how often drank largest number of drinks of any alcohol during period of heaviest drinking
||main type of alcohol consumed during period of heaviest drinking
Table 3: Alcohol dependence variables:
||ever had to drink more to get the effect wanted
||ever increase drinking because amount formerly consumed no longer gave desired effect
||more than once try unsuccessfully to stop or cut down on drinking
||ever shake when effects of alcohol were wearing off
||ever feel anxious or nervous when effects of alcohol were wearing off
||ever have nausea when effects of alcohol were wearing off
||ever feel unusually restless when effects of alcohol were wearing off
||ever sweat or heart beat fast when effects of alcohol were wearing off
||ever see, feel, hear things when effects of alcohol were wearing off
||ever have fits or seizures when effects of alcohol were wearing off
||ever have very bad headaches when effects of alcohol were wearing off
||withdrawal symptoms in last 12 months caused significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas
||withdrawal symptoms before 12 months ago caused significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas