Marriage can help reduce crime by enabling people to develop greater self-control.
Walter Forrest, criminologist, Monash University and associate professor Carter Hay from Florida State University found that young marijuana users who went on to marry were less likely to have continued using the drug than those who remained single.
The research also uncovered a key reason for the change that was, those who married also experienced significant improvements in self-control.
"Self-control is one of the strongest predictors of differences between people in terms of their involvement in crime," said Forrest, the journal Criminology and Criminal Justice reports.
"People who avoid taking risks can easily defer gratification and have little trouble controlling their impulses are much less likely to commit a variety of offences," added Forest, according to a Monash statement.
The study was based on the analyses of the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a nationally-representative survey of American adolescents and young adults.
Many criminologists have assumed that marriage helps reduce crime because married people feel they have more to lose by committing crime.