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Study examines impact of drinking on families

New research into the drinking patterns of couples is providing unusual results. The research comes from UB's Research Institute on Addictions.

It's part of a long-term study of families and drinking which started with 634 couples and followed them over nine years. 370 are still involved.

Institute Director Ken Leonard says the surprising result is that heavy-drinking married couples will stay together while a couple where only one partner is a heavy drinker is much more likely to divorce.

Leonard says the change seems to create the break.

"If both members of a couple are heavy drinkers or are alcoholics, sometimes the relationship is stable because of that. And, that if one person changes that has the possibility of tipping the boat."

Leonard says there have been prior looks from different angles at these couples and there will be more. What's being studied now is the effect on children in these families and most of the families include children.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.