Wife influences husband's marijuana use during first year of marriage

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- While it's the husband among newlywed couples who has more influence on whether the couple engages in heavy drinking, it's the wife who appears to be in the driver's seat when it comes to determining her husband's marijuana use, according to researchers at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA).

Results showed that in the first year of marriage for 20-somethings, husbands are more likely to start or resume smoking marijuana if their wives smoke marijuana. Husbands also are more likely to stop smoking marijuana if their spouses do not smoke. The reverse is not true in either case; husbands do not seem to influence their wives' marijuana smoking.

Kenneth E. Leonard, Ph.D., principal investigator on the study, is a senior research scientist at RIA as well as a research professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Since 1990, he has studied couples recruited while applying for marriage licenses at Buffalo City Hall.

Gregory G. Homish, Ph.D., RIA research associate, is Leonard's co-investigator. The research is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The researchers collected data from 634 couples, 471 of whom provided data before marriage, at their first anniversary and at their second anniversary. The current study revealing a wife's influence on her husband's marijuana use was based on couples in which the average age of husbands was 29 and that of wives was 27.

Leonard noted that the first year of marriage, which can be viewed as a transition into marriage, has been found to have unique characteristics in the primary relationship between husband and wife, the couples' relationships with friends and their substance use. "Substance use tends to decline as individuals progress through their 20s," Leonard added. "This may be a part of the maturing process, but it also reflects perio

Contact: Kathleen Weaver
University at Buffalo

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