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Saturday, December 17, 2011

News Release - New study finds binge drinking as contagious as the common cold

Romantic partners are a powerful influence. But a new study conducted by Dalhousie University researchers has revealed that dating couples may have more influence over each other than you think – especially when it comes to binge drinking.

Key Points:

  • Do couples influence each other's drinking habits? Over a 28 day time frame, researchers were able to predict one partner’s binge drinking based the other partner’s binge drinking.

  • This study offers a unique explanation for why young adults are binge drinking: Because they are involved in a drinking partnership that promotes binge drinking.

  • People who are dealing with an addiction are often quick to blame themselves and to look past social relationships and wider environments as possible contributors to their addiction. This research shows your partner can influence your binge drinking—a finding that has important implications for assessment, prevention, and treatment.

  • The research studied 208 nonmarried, heterosexual dating couples in their early 20’s. Each couple had to be dating for at least 3 months, have face-to-face contact at least 5 days a week, and one member of each dating couple had to be a university/college student. On average, couples were dating for close to 2 years.

  • The lead author in this study is Aislin Mushquash, 4th year PhD student in clinical psychology along with Dalhousie researchers Dr. Simon Sherry, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, and Dr. Sherry Stewart, professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Community Health and Epidemiology.

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