The primary purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of family-of-origin quality, adult regulation of negative affect, and marital stability with the extent to which couples report they drink similarly and the extent to which they report that the husband drinks more than the wife. It was hypothesized that these two types of couple drinking patterns would be impacted by each individual spouse's context as well as by the interaction of those contexts. A national sample of 1498 couples or 2996 individuals (1498 wives and 1498 husbands married to each other) participated in this study. This study sought to understand the family-of-origin influences when there was not an alcoholic parent in the home. Therefore, adult children of alcoholics were excluded from the sample. The results of this study suggested that wives family-of-origin quality and both spouses' regulation of negative affect were highly predictive of a husband drinking more than the wife, and moderately to highly predictive of couple drinking similarity. The husband's family-of-origin had only indirect effects on both alcohol use patterns. His family-of-origin had moderately significant effects on drinking similarity through the mediating variable of the husband's regulation of negative affect. His family-of-origin had moderate to highly significant effects on whether or not he drinks more than his wife through two indirect paths, with regulation of negative affect and marital stability as mediating variables. When examining partner effects on couple alcohol use patterns, findings suggest the contributions of husband and wife are not entirely equal. Findings suggest that the wife's family-of-origin influences the pattern of the ‘husband drinking more than his wife’, through the mediating variable of the husband's regulation of negative affect, and this relationship was found to be stronger than his own family-of-origin. The wife's family-of-origin and her regulation of negative affect were more predictive of whether or not the couple drank similarly than the husband's family-of-origin or his regulation of negative affect. The most poignant conclusion drawn from this study is the importance of recognizing not only individual contributors to later alcohol use, but also the influence of the interacting couple contexts when examining couple alcohol use patterns.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy



Date Submitted


Document Type





couple alcohol use patterns, marital alcohol use, family-of-origin, negative affect regulation, marital stability, alcohol patterns, non-ACOA, partner effects