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Drink with your partner, it’s good for you

Couples who drink together have a longer life, says new study.

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A healthy diet and exercise can help us live longer. But who knew that drinking with your significant other could be linked to a greater life expectancy? Alcohol and relationships may actually be a good mix, after all.

Savour together, stay together

Findings published in the journal ‘The Gerontologist’ showed that couples who have the same drinking habits and imbibe together are more likely to live longer and have lasting relationships. The research was part of the Health and Retirement Study involving over 4 600 married, different-sex couples in the United States who were all over the age of 50. They were interviewed every 2 years and asked if they drank with their partner (concordant drinking couple) at some point during the last 3 months and the average amount they drank per week. There was no focus on the type of alcohol consumed.

Live long and… drink

“The purpose of this study was to look at alcohol use in couples in the Health and Retirement Study and the implications for mortality,” stated lead author Dr Kira Birditt, research professor at the University of Michigan, in a news release. “And we found, interestingly, that couples in which both indicated drinking alcohol in the last three months lived longer than the other couples that either both indicated not drinking or had discordant drinking patterns in which one drank and the other did not.” So, what are you waiting for, go knock a few back with our partner! Er, don’t go reaching for that glass just yet, she cautions. “We don’t know why both partners drinking is associated with better survival. I think using the other techniques that we use in our studies in terms of the daily experiences and ecological momentary assessment questionnaires could really get at that to understand, for example, focusing on concordant drinking couples. What are their daily lives like? Are they drinking together? What are they doing when they are drinking?” Dr Birditt says that more examination is needed before making sweeping conclusions about how alcohol affects couples. “There is also little information about the daily interpersonal processes that account for these links. Future research should assess the implications of couple drinking patterns for daily marital quality, and daily physical health outcomes.”

Keywords

drink, drinking, couple, partner, alcohol