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Jealousy breeds alcoholism, claims study

People whose self-esteem is tied to the success of their romantic relations and who regularly experience feelings of jealousy are more susceptible to alcoholism, a study has claimed.

People who regularly experience “romantic jealousy” are more likely to drink excessively, claims the study

Named “The green eyed monster in the bottle” the study, carried out by researchers at the University of Houston, examined the link between jealousy, self-esteem and problem drinking.

It found that those who rely on their relationship for self-esteem were more likely to have a problem with alcohol, drowning their sorrows if they believe their partner could be cheating.

“We all experience feelings of jealousy to some degree; many people are in relationships that are less than ideal, and use alcohol for different reasons,” said lead author Dr Angelo DiBello, of University of Houston.

“Romantic jealousy is a shared human experience, but very little work has looked at how it is related to alcohol use, misuse and associated problems. This research helps to highlight the associations between these factors and show how our emotions, thoughts, and behaviours are related in potentially harmful ways.”

Researchers interviewed 277 people as part of the study, 87% of which were female, about how dependent their self-esteem is on their romantic relationship, commitment and closeness in their relationship, levels of jealousy and alcohol use. People who were  “less satisfied”, “less committed”, and reported feeling “more disconnected” from their partners were more likely to drink heavily, the study found.

Scientists hope that understanding this link could help identify people at risk of alcoholism more quickly.

“Ultimately, I hope to use findings like these to support the development of prevention and intervention efforts among individuals who may struggle with alcohol, self-esteem and relationship issues”, added DiBello.

The study was published in the health journal Addictive Behaviors.

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