People who usually depend on their relationship in order to make them feel good about themselves are more likely to become an alcoholic if they continue to believe their partner is cheating, a new study has found.
The study from the University of Houston is the first which has linked romantic jealousy, relationship-dependent self-esteem, and the alcohol problems.
The researchers said that understanding the link between these three factors could help identify people at are the high risk of alcoholism.
Predicting that alcohol problems mean they can be further prevented and research has shown that using alcohol in order to cope with negative emotions is one of the strongest predictors.
“We all experience feelings of some sort of jealousy to some degree; many people are in relationships that are less than the ideal, and use alcohol for different reasons,” said lead author Angelo DiBello.
“This research also helps to further highlight the associations between these factors and show how one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours are related in potentially harmful ways,” DiBello said.
Jealousy in relationships can cause alcohol problems
The researchers investigated how these different types of jealousy affect the link between depending on a romantic relationship for one’s self-esteem and having alcohol problems.
For the study, 277 people (87 percent female) from a university answered the questions about how dependent their self-esteem is on their romantic relationship, the satisfaction, closeness and commitment in their relationship, their jealousy, and their alcohol use.
The results have shown that the people whose self-esteem relies on their relationship turn into alcohol to further cope because of jealousy. These findings were especially true for the people who were less satisfied, reported feeling and less committed more disconnected from their partners.
When someone’s self-worth has been tied to their relationship, the effect of any negative events or emotions is magnified, the researchers said.
The study has shown that when this happens, believing that their partner is cheating can lead a person to intake alcohol to cope.
The study was published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.