Getting married before 21 increases the risk of developing a drinking problem, study finds

Tying the knot at a young age may seem romantic now, but a few years down the line, you may be left wondering if it was worth it.

A study at Virginia Commonwealth University in the US found that people who get married before the age of 21 are more likely o develop a drinking problem.

Researchers assessed the marital status and alcohol habits of around 1,000 people who were genetically predisposed to developing a form of alcoholism. 

Rebecca Smith, a doctoral student, and author of the study said: “In a sample of young adults, we found that marriage was not uniformly protective against alcohol misuse,”

The researchers believe the correlation can be explained by considering the various factors that young people face when compared to older couples. 

“When we stepped back to think about what we know about development and developmental psychology, our findings made more sense. Traditional life events, such as marriage and parenthood, tend to occur during certain periods in life.

So when those types of events occur either earlier or later in life than is typical (in American culture), they may not be as protective as we would expect,” she said.

The research is due to be published in the journal Development and Psychopathology.