Longitudinal effects of military spouses concern and behaviors over partner drinking on relationship functioning,
Among those in close relationships, the perception that one’s partner has a drinking problem is more strongly related to detriments in relationship quality than are the actual rates of the partner’s drinking. The current study extends this work by examining the effects of this perception on relationship functioning longitudinally and whether this association is mediated by changes in how one behaves in response to their partner’s drinking. Spouses and partners of military service members who were concerned about their partner’s drinking (N=234) completed a baseline survey and a follow-up assessment five months later. Structural equation modeling was used to prospectively examine the association between concern about partner drinking and relationship functioning (i.e., relationship quality, conflict, communication patterns), and the mediated effect of regulation strategies. Results suggested that changes in participant concern were related to changes in relationship functioning, and these changes were mediated by changes in punishment and rewarding sobriety regulation strategies. This research suggests that concern about partner drinking is linked with poorer relationship functioning partly because of the increased use of punishment and the decreased use of rewarding sobriety.
Rodriguez, L.M., Neighbors, C., Osilla, K.C. & Trail, T.E. (2018). Longitudinal effects of military spouses concern and behaviors over partner drinking on relationship functioning, Alcohol. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2018.07.004
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