Studies - Cohabitation

Married People Are Healthier, More Financially Stable (10/02, 12/04, 9/05)

A U.S. gov’t study concludes it's healthy to be married; overall, married people are sick less often and more active. They smoke and drink less and in general feel better than single, divorced, never married or even folks just living together.

Among adults 18+, 11.9 percent said they were in fair or poor health, the study found. By comparison, some 10.5 percent of married people reported being in poor or fair health, while all other groups were higher. At 19.6 percent, widows and widowers were the most likely to be in these less healthy categories.

The report was based on a survey of 127,545 people in 1999-2002 conducted by the center. The study found that married people said they had less low back pain, fewer headaches and less psychological stress.

Some 4.7% of adults reported they had become heavier drinkers than previously, with the lowest rate among marrieds [3.7%]. Again, those living with an unmarried partner – most drinking, 8.2%, followed by the divorced and separated, 6.4%.

Overall the study found that 58.2% of adults are married, 10.4% are separated or divorced, 6.6 percent are widowed, 19% are never married and 5.7% are living with a partner. [National Center for Health Statistics statistician Charlotte Schoenborn AP; ctv.ca, 16Dec04]

 

Men and Women Get Mental Boost from Marriage
LONDON (Reuters) – Women, as well as men, benefit from marriage and get a mental health boost from being a couple, study findings suggest.

Research from Australia, which showed that about 13% of married men and women suffer from stress contradicts the findings of a 1972 study by sociologist Jessie Bernard.

Bernard's study, which looked at anxiety, depression and neurosis in married and unmarried people, found that men reaped the benefits of marriage at the expense of women.

"The idea that men benefit from being part of a couple while women suffer all the stress has taken a blow," New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday.

Psychologist David de Vaus, from LaTrobe University in Melbourne, said the difference between his findings and Bernard's could be due to the definition of stress and mental disorder, which can manifest itself in men as drug and alcohol abuse.

When he studied data from a mental health poll of more than 10,000 adults from a 1996 national survey of mental health in Australia that included substance abuse as an indicator of stress, he found that 25% of single men and women were miserable.

In the female sample, married women with children had the fewest mental health problems.

"Psychologists are now debating whether Bernard's conclusions have always been flawed, or whether women have become genuinely happier inside marriage over the past 30 years," the magazine added.

[Reuters Health; Abstinence Clearinghouse, 23Oct02]

MARRIAGE BENEFITS MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN (9/05)
The Brookings Institution and Princeton University have released a report which shows that married couples are financially more stable, and that marriage improves the lives of children, according to Reuters.

According to the report, "The Future of Children": "the decline in two-parent families since 1960 has been closely linked with a rise in child poverty, primarily because poverty rates are far higher in single-mother families than in two-parent families.”

While many poor hold the view that marriage should wait until the couple has a better financial status, marriage actually would ensure better finances over time.

Where children are concerned, especially those born out-of-wedlock, while the parents wait for a better economic status to become married, the report stated, "marriage may increase children's material well-being through such benefits as family leave from work and spousal health insurance eligibility." Another benefit of marriage for children is the increased “durability and stability of their parents' relationship."

[Reuters, “Marriage boosts prosperity, helps children-US study,” September 13, 2005, http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N13506355.htm; Abstinence Clearinghouse, 9/13/05]