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Husbands' and Wives' Alcohol Use Disorders and Marital Interactions as Longitudinal Predictors of Marital Adjustment

Publication Abstract

Cranford, J., F. Floyd, John E. Schulenberg, and R. Zucker. 2011. "Husbands' and Wives' Alcohol Use Disorders and Marital Interactions as Longitudinal Predictors of Marital Adjustment." Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(1): 210-222.

In this longitudinal study, the relationships among wives' and husbands' lifetime alcoholism status, marital behaviors, and marital adjustment were tested. Participants were 105 couples from the Michigan Longitudinal Study (MLS), an ongoing multimethod investigation of substance use in a community-based sample of alcoholics, nonalcoholics, and their families. At baseline (T1), husbands and wives completed a series of diagnostic measures, and lifetime diagnosis of alcohol use disorder (AUD, as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed.), was assessed. Couples completed a problem-solving marital interaction task 3 years later at T2, which was coded for the ratio of positive to negative behaviors. Couples also completed a measure of marital adjustment at T4 (9 years after T1 and 6 years after T2). Results showed that husbands' lifetime AUD predicted lower levels of their wife's positive marital behaviors 3 years later but was not related to their own or their wife's marital adjustment 9 years from baseline. By contrast, wives' lifetime AUD had direct negative associations with their own and their husband's marital satisfaction 9 years later, and wives' marital behaviors during the problem-solving task predicted their own and their husband's marital satisfaction 6 years later. Findings indicate that marital adjustment in alcoholic couples may be driven more by the wives' than the husbands' AUD and marital behavior. Implications for intervention with alcoholic couples were discussed.

DOI:10.1037/a0021349 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3205965. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

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