Directions for Research on Alcoholic Relationships: Marital- and Individual-Based Models of Heterogeneity

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The literature on alcoholism and relationship functioning has not yielded an empirically based approach to understanding alcoholic relationships. Though both the alcoholism and marital research fields have begun to systematize heterogeneity observed in clinical and nonclinical samples, the literature on alcoholic relationships has been poorly linked to each field. This article examines research on alcoholic couples to facilitate empirically based models of alcoholic-partner relationships that can be used for patient–treatment matching studies. The authors conclude that current knowledge about alcohol and marriage is limited by (a) sample selection criteria that restrict heterogeneity of the sample, (b) lack of attention to literature on marital and alcoholic subtypes, (c) lack of attention to literature on alcoholic subtypes, and (d) lack of longitudinal studies linking alcoholic couples subtypes to marital or drinking outcomes.

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