Alcoholism is more common in people with alcoholic spouses than those without, a new study shows.
This makes some sense. If you met her while doing shots of Jäger off her drunken abdomen, she's going to be a little more tolerant of your excessive drinking, as long as you share. It's important to have things in common if you want your relationship to last.
They call it "associative mating", which is a technical term for 'marry a person like you.'
Alcohol dependence (AD) is 50% genetic, says lead author Julia D. Grant, research assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine. The study wanted to examine the impact of spousal interaction, in which an individual’s drinking behavior has an impact on his or her partner’s drinking behavior.
"Phenotypic assortment for alcoholism risk is part of a much larger phenomenon, having deep evolutionary roots," commented Michael Vanyukov, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, psychiatry and human genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. "A closer phenotypic and genetic similarity may translate into higher social cohesion and thus benefit the group, and perhaps the whole species."
Both Grant and Vanyukov noted that assortative mating is likely to result in an increased proportion of offspring who will be exposed to the genetic liability of two alcoholic parents. "The offspring will have a greater chance to inherit such genes than in the case of random or non-assortative mating," said Vanyukov, "and on the population level, this would lead to an increased frequency of genotypes associated with extreme phenotypes, such as those related to an increased risk for alcoholism."
So if you care about society, and you're not an alcoholic, marry one.
Read the study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER) : "Spousal Concordance for Alcohol Dependence: Evidence for Assortative Mating or Spousal Interaction Effects?"