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Relationships Can Lower Substance Use In Young People

By KingMe, Jun 2, 2010 | | |
  1. KingMe
    [h1]Relationships Can Lower Substance Use In Young People[/h1]

    A new study of young people in the two years after high school finds that those in romantic relationships are less likely than their peers to report heavy drinking and marijuana use.

    Researchers have known that marriage lowers the odds that people will get drunk frequently or smoke pot, said study lead author Charles Fleming, a research scientist at the University of Washington. The new findings, he said, reveal that other kinds of romantic relationships have the same effect.

    "I'm not saying that we should set up dating services," he said. "But it's something for parents to know and it's something for other people who are working with young adults of this age to know."

    The study findings appear in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

    Fleming and colleagues examined surveys of 909 young people followed from first or second grade in the early 1990s through adolescence and the two years after high school.

    More than 80 percent of the participants, from a school district outside Seattle, were white, and 54 percent were male.

    The researchers found that those who were not in romantic relationships at ages 19 and 20 smoked less and drank less than other students back when they were in high school. The situation changed when they got older: "They catch up and maybe surpass their peers," Fleming said.

    After adjusting their statistics so they would not be thrown off by factors like employment status, the researchers found the typical person who was not in a relationship was 40 percent more likely to use marijuana than a person in a dating relationship but without a live-in girlfriend or boyfriend.

    What is going on? One possibility is that when people are in relationships, they are "happier and getting social support from their partner," Fleming said. "They're spending less time hanging out with their substance-using friends, spending less time at parties and in bars."

    In the big picture, the findings matter because they provide insight into the influences on people during a time of life "when you see peak rates of alcohol abuse and development of dependency on cigarettes and marijuana," Fleming said. "You worry about people being disengaged from influences that might curb their risk of drinking and substance abuse."

    Kenneth Leonard, a researcher with the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo, said the findings add a couple new things to existing research. For one, they provide evidence that marriages among young people reduce the risk of substance use just as marriages of older people do.

    But he said there is an exception: The study shows that when someone's spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend is a heavy drinker or marijuana user, that actually raises the odds that the person will smoke and drink.

    Overall, the findings show that "intimate partners, even those who are cohabiting or dating, can have an important influence on another's substance use," he said.

    Fleming C, White HR, Catalano RF. Romantic relationships and substance use in early adulthood: an examination of the influences of relationship type, partner substance use, and relationship quality. J Health Social Behav 51(2), 2010.

    Source: Health Behavior News Service
    Article Date: 02 Jun 2010


  1. dyingtomorrow
    "One possibility is that when young people are in relationships, their lives are more boring. Especially if one partner is controlling or jealous, they are less likely to be able to go out and have fun like their peers."

  2. Greenport
    Hm, well swiM did notice he smoked waay less pot when he was together with his girlfriend than beforehand. Her and swiM broke up though :( but he still hasn't been smoking pot though because he's been looking for work and that's much more important.

    He could definitely say without a doubt that there's much less of a desire to do drugs when there's a female around to release those endorphins :) Guess the opposite sex is indeed the perfect drug ;)
  3. Paradoxical Frog
    Hmm, well my cat's experience was that she started seeing her first boyfriend in her final year of high school and his first year of uni. In that time she drank more and started smoking weed, as did he.

    But then my cat has always liked being the exception :laugh:
  4. Electric Wizard
    The wizard smoked more dope and drank more alcohol when he was with his girlfriend. That's why they broke up in the first place.
    Guess that could explain how it works though, not everyone would do the same as the wizard, many would attempt to calm down with it I imagine.
  5. salviablue
    The only way I can see this as being true/the case is if:
    - the other half doesn't indulge
    Use would be lower simply for finding 'the right moment' when to 'indulge'. If the OH doesn't wish to share in the use, then the opportunity for use will be diminished​
    - the other half doesn't approve of/bans use
    This is a terrible situation of abuse through (usually) fear or mistakenly placed belief. If someone doesn't wish to share personal xp with their OH, its sad, but not every thing is up everybodies street, it should not be expected that everything can be shared. ​
    But if someone wishes to ban their OH from use, unless for reasons of personal safety or dangerous/over-use, then this is extremely out of order and akin to a kind of totalitarian nazi fascism and is certainly abuse.[/indent]
    - the 'user' uses because they cannot get any other joy from life
    This is also a sad state of affairs. Both because drugs here probably are actually abused
    (I abhor the oft incorrect and misleading blanket term of 'drug abuse') and that either the person has not learned to live life, to actually see what there is to live for/enjoy, because it is there, or that something wrong has occurred and there is brain damage or seemingly irreparable 'soul' damage.
    - the 'user' is an addict which greatly impacts/alters his/her life or 'natural' character
    This is a situation where diminished use would greatly benefit both the user and the relationship an many levels​
    - the user over indulges, either by quantity or frequency, or uses in inappropriate circumstances
    Again, in these circumstances, reduction in use is self explanatory and (usually) extremely beneficial to both parties and the/a relationship, on many levels.​

    Its probably more prevailent in the young because of their maleability, and need to 'get their end away' and/or be (socially/) accepted. When people get older they tend to be more rigid in their views and more likely to stand up for what they believe in, or at least not be dictated by something that conflicts with their core.

    I do apologise for any mistakes, as I cannot edit yet, anything I spot later will be added as errata in a later post.
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