Research Suggests Married People Could Be Healthier
Recent research has revealed that people who are married enjoy better health than those who are not. This applies to both physical and mental health. As compared to people who are divorced or widowed, married people are also less likely to develop chronic health conditions.
Further, those who are in happy marriages have a higher likelihood of rating their health as getting better with age.
Throughout all the stages of marriage, the state of marriage was found to have had an effect on health.
The researchers had looked at 707 married adults who were part of the Marital Instability Over the Life Course panel study. That study was a nation-wide project which had started in 1980 and lasted for 20 years. It was funded by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Research and Statistics as well as the National Institute on Aging. The level of health and quality of marriage were self-rated by the study subjects.
The recent study, named “The Longitudinal Associations between Marital Happiness, Problems and Self-Rated Health,” was co-authored by Christine Proulx, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. She said: “We often think about the aging process as something we can treat medically with a pill or more exercise, but working on your marriage also might benefit your health as you age. Engaging with your spouse is not going to cure cancer, but building stronger relationships can improve both people’s spirits and well-being and lower their stress.”
Plus, she suggested that the human relational element could be incorporated into formal healthcare treatment plans as well.
“Physicians should recognize that the strength of patients’ marriages might affect their health. I suspect we’d have higher rates of adherence to treatment plans for chronic illnesses if medical professionals placed more of an emphasis on incorporating families and spouses in patients’ care. If spouses understand their partners’ disease and how to treat it at home, and the couple has a strong marriage, both people’s health could improve,” she also said.
One caveat – the study subjects were of a higher socio-economic profile, being Caucasian, earning more than $55,000 in family income in 2000, and having more than high school educations, and this probably protected them against health and marital issues which peoples of other ethnicities, lower income, or less education could encounter.
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