In the modern day with so many cohabiting couples, it can be easy for people to become sidetracked from the benefits of married life.
With so much media emphasis on why marriage is no longer necessary or even beneficial, it’s easy to see why people have become not only afraid of marriage, but have begun to view marriage as a bad lifestyle choice. Those who are happily married will tell you nothing comes close to the benefits of being happily married.
I actually find myself coming across more and more people lately who just seem so fed up and desperate about their post divorce situation and it saddens me that so many people are hurting in this way, worried that time is ticking by, anxious that they are not going to find someone to spend the rest of their life with. Behind a lot of the self-assured proclamations of some singletons, cohabitees and divorcees, deep down a lot of them want to be married. Often, they just haven’t found the right person yet or they have misunderstood what being married means.
For the first of my Marriage Research Reports, let’s look at the link between marriage and longevity.
Between 1997 and 2004 a longitudinal study published by Liuand Reczek (2012), was conducted using 193,851 participants with a representative cross section of the public, i.e. using a whole range of demographics from the population instead of just, for example, middle class, white men and women.
The researchers found that US adult mortality rates were lower for married white men and women than their cohabiting counterparts, i.e. that married white men and women lived longer than those who were cohabiting. They also found that never-married, divorced or widowed black men had shorter life spans than their co-habiting counterparts. They did not find a difference between mortality rates for black men and women who were married vs. cohabiting.
The researchers attributed some of the differences between the groups within the study to factors such as physical and psychological health differences, health behaviour differences and income differences between the groups.
In another study published earlier, Kaplan and Kronick (2006), again looking at a sample from the US, analysed over eight years, researchers found that married individuals lived longer than all groups in the study. They also found that the chance of death was 58% higher in never-married individuals compared with those married.
Liu, H. & Reczek, C. (2012). Cohabitation and U.S. Adult Mortality: An Examination by Gender and Race. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74 (4), 794–811.
Kaplan, R. M. and Kronick, R. G. (2006). Marital Status and Longevity in the U.S. Population. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 60 (9), 760-765.