Kids of prob­lem drinkers more likely to marry some­one with same is­sue

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Chil­dren of par­ents who have al­co­hol use dis­or­der are more likely to get mar­ried un­der the age of 25, less likely to get mar­ried later in life, and more likely to marry a per­son who has al­co­hol use dis­or­der them­selves, ac­cord­ing to a new study by re­searchers at Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity and Lund Univer­sity in Swe­den.

“There are many path­ways through which a par­ent’s al­co­hol prob­lems can in­flu­ence our own risk for al­co­hol prob­lems. One im­por­tant path­way, of course, has to do with the genes that par­ents pass to their chil­dren,” said the study’s lead au­thor, Jes­sica Sal­va­tore, Ph.D., an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in the De­part­ment of Psy­chol­ogy in the Col­lege of Hu­man­i­ties and Sciences at Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity.

“But an­other im­por­tant path­way, which we demon­strate here, is through the so­cial en­vi­ron­ment.”

The study was pub­lished in the most re­cent is­sue of the jour­nal Ad­dic­tion. It is based on data from le­gal, med­i­cal and phar­macy reg­istries with de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on 1.17 mil­lion peo­ple in Swe­den who were born be­tween 1965 and 1975.

“Although there have been many stud­ies along these lines in the past, there were some key method­olog­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions to these prior stud­ies, in­clud­ing the re­liance on small sam­ples,” Sal­va­tore said.

“We were able to lever­age the Swedish na­tional reg­istries to look at these ques­tions in a large sam­ple of over 1 mil­lion peo­ple.”

The re­searchers set out to dis­cover if al­co­hol use dis­or­der (AUD) among par­ents would pre­dict their adult off­spring’s like­li­hood of mar­riage and mar­riage to a spouse with al­co­hol use dis­or­der.

“We know from pre­vi­ous re­search that who you marry plays a big part in whether you de­velop an al­co­hol prob­lem,” Sal­va­tore said. “What we found in this study is that who you marry is not ran­dom -- and, in fact, the peo­ple who are at great­est risk for de­vel­op­ing an al­co­hol prob­lem (be­cause they have an af­fected par­ent) are most likely to end up with a spouse who is go­ing to exacerbate this risk.”

Re­searchers found that parental al­co­hol use dis­or­der is as­so­ci­ated with a higher prob­a­bil­ity of mar­riage at younger ages, a lower prob­a­bil­ity of mar­riage at older ages and a higher like­li­hood of mar­riage to an af­fected spouse com­pared with no parental al­co­hol use dis­or­der.

“In this case, we found that you do marry some­one who is like your par­ents,” Sal­va­tore said.

The re­searchers also found that most of these ef­fects be­come stronger when the num­ber of par­ents with al­co­hol use dis­or­der in­creases have fun when you are healthy. What is your nutri­tional ob­jec­tive as Christ­mas and the New Year ap­proaches? Of course, this is a sea­son of in­dul­gence, but as a health­con­scious in­di­vid­ual, you must select your meals and drinks with your over­all nutri­tional goal in mind. And I think pure fruit juice is def­i­nitely the way to go.”

“The avail­able ev­i­dence re­lat­ing to 100 per­cent fruit juice con­sump­tion in­di­cates mod­est ben­e­fits for blood pres­sure, while there is also an emerg­ing trend re­veal­ing in­verse asso­ciations be­tween pure fruit juice con­sump­tion and risk of stroke. Over­all, this sug­gests that unadul­ter­ated fruit juice is an ap­pro­pri­ate choice of bev­er­age for a heart healthy diet,” she stressed.

A glass of or­ange juice has nearly your from one to two. Most ef­fects also held af­ter sta­tis­ti­cally con­trol­ling for par­ents’ so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus, mar­i­tal his­tory, other ex­ter­nal­iz­ing dis­or­ders, and the off­spring’s own al­co­hol use dis­or­der sta­tus.

Ad­di­tion­ally, daugh­ters of af­fected moth­ers are more likely to have an af­fected spouse, the re­searchers found.

The re­searchers were in­ter­ested in their find­ings be­cause pre­vi­ous re­search has shown that form­ing and main­tain­ing ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships with “proso­cial” spouses re­duces one’s risk of de­vel­op­ing al­co­hol use dis­or­der.

“And what we find here is that peo­ple who are at risk of de­vel­op­ing AUD (by virtue of grow­ing up with an AUD-af­fected par­ent) are less likely to find them­selves in these types of pro­tec­tive mar­i­tal en­vi­ron­ments,” Sal­va­tore said.

From a prac­ti­cal stand­point, she daily rec­om­men­da­tion of vi­ta­min C, an im­por­tant ox­i­dant to neu­tralise free rad­i­cals formed as part of your body’s nat­u­ral ox­i­da­tion process.

“Con­sum­ing a va­ri­ety of fruits and veg­eta­bles is a recog­nised way to max­imise the in­ges­tion of vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and ben­e­fi­cial plant nu­tri­ents,” said Abi­ola.

“Also, clin­i­cal stud­ies re­veal sev­eral mech­a­nisms re­lat­ing to vas­cu­lar health, in­flam­ma­tion, lipid ox­i­da­tion and platelet ag­gre­ga­tion that could ex­plain a ben­e­fit for pure fruit juices in low­er­ing CVD risk. Polyphe­nol com­pounds and potas­sium in fruit juices are most likely re­spon­si­ble for these ef­fects. In fact, more than a decade’s worth of re­search sug­gests that 100 per­cent fruit juice can help sup­port a healthy heart.” said, the study’s find­ings could be use­ful for clin­i­cians and oth­ers who work with the off­spring of par­ents with al­co­hol use dis­or­der to raise aware­ness of how parental AUD can in­flu­ence the types of so­cial en­vi­ron­ments that can in­crease one’s risk for al­co­hol use dis­or­der.

“There are large in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, like Al-Anon and Ala­teen, that are geared to­wards help­ing and sup­port­ing the fam­ily mem­bers, and in par­tic­u­lar chil­dren of peo­ple af­fected by al­co­hol use dis­or­ders,” Sal­va­tore said. “I think that there is a role for find­ings like ours as part of these types of fam­ily ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams. Specif­i­cally, be­com­ing aware of how a par­ent’s al­co­hol prob­lem might shape one’s own like­li­hood of end­ing up in the kind of mar­riage that will in­crease risk for al­co­hol prob­lems may help peo­ple choose dif­fer­ently.”

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