, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 691-710

Cleaning up their act: The effects of marriage and cohabitation on licit and illicit drug use

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We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to estimate changes in binge drinking, marijuana use, and cigarette smoking surrounding young adults’ first experiences of cohabitation and marriage. Both marriage and cohabitation are accompanied by decreases in some risk behaviors, but reductions surrounding marriage are larger and most consistent, particularly for men. Binge drinking and marijuana use respond to these events, especially marriage, but smoking does not.

We are grateful to the Family and Child Well-being Research Network of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U01 HD30947-06) and the MacArthur Foundation Network on Family and the Economy for supporting this research. The article has benefited from discussions with members of the MacArthur Network and with Johanne Boisjoly and Nan Astone. An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, May 2, 2003.