A Dyadic Examination of Drinking Behaviors within Military-Connected Couples

James D. Lee, Anna Marie S. O’Neill, Emily C. Denning, Cynthia D. Mohr, Leslie B. Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


High rates of alcohol use have been documented within military personnel and spouses. However, scant research has investigated alcohol consumption behaviors in matched couples or nonclinical veteran samples. The manner in which couples influence one another’s drinking remains unclear. The current study examined hazardous drinking scores and drinking behaviors in a sample of post-9/11 separated service members (most of whom were veterans) and active duty reservists and their spouse/partners; 260 military-connected couples participated in the Study for Employment Retention of Veterans (SERVe) and were recruited from 35 workplace organizations in the Pacific Northwest. Participants completed baseline and daily surveys on alcohol consumption over the span of 32 days. Among study highlights, Actor–Partner Interdependence Models (APIM) revealed actor effects for psychological distress predicting alcohol use variables. Significant partner effects were also revealed for hazardous drinking (AUDIT) scores predicting subsequent alcohol use, over and above actor (i.e., within-person) effects of those relationships. Higher levels of subsequent drinking frequency and quantity were evident among partners of veterans with higher hazardous drinking scores. Spouses with higher hazardous drinking scores were associated with veteran partners who drank more frequently. Results shed light on how military-connected couples, particularly those engaging in hazardous drinking, uniquely influence one another’s alcohol consumption behaviors. Ultimately, findings highlight the importance of including spouses of veterans to elucidate the interplay of drinking behaviors within military-connected couples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-409
Number of pages14
JournalMilitary Behavioral Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 12 2020


  • APIM
  • Military
  • alcohol
  • hazardous drinking
  • military spouses
  • psychological distress
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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