HealthDay News — Among married individuals, first alcohol use disorder (AUD) registration in national medical, criminal, or pharmacy registries is associated with an increased risk of first AUD registration in the spouse, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and colleagues examined the correlation of a first registration for AUD in one spouse with the risk of registration in his or her partner using data from population-wide Swedish registries for 8,562 marital pairs in their first marriage and 4,891 individuals with multiple marriages.

The researchers found that the hazard ratio of AUD registration in wives immediately after the first AUD registration in their husbands was 13.82 among 8,562 marital pairs in first marriages; this decreased to 3.75 two years later. The corresponding hazard ratios of AUD registration in husbands were 9.21 and 3.09. The hazard ratio for AUD registration was 0.50 in women and 0.51 in men among individuals with multiple marriages when individuals transitioned from a first marriage to a spouse with AUD to a second marriage with a spouse without AUD. 

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After a first marriage to a spouse without AUD, the hazard ratios for AUD were 7.02 and 9.06, repectively, in women and men with a second marriage to a spouse with AUD.

“The increase in risk for AUD registration in a married individual following a first AUD registration in the spouse is large and rapid,” the authors write.


Kendler KS, Lönn SL, Salvatore J, Sundquist J, Sundquist K. The origin of spousal resemblance for alcohol use disorder. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(3):280-286.