Study Shows Marriage Has Health Benefits Favors By Serendipity
However, benefits do decline over time
While marriage does have its positive health benefits, it provides less protection against death a health declines, according to Ohio State University research. The researchers of the study discovered that married couples are most likely to to overestimate their health than their single counterparts.
“We believe marriage is still good for the health of some people, but it is not equally protective for everyone,” study lead author Hui Zheng, an assistant professor of sociology, said in a university news release. “For those who are already in poor health, marriage doesn’t seem to provide any extra benefits.”
The findings were true in both men and women, and the results were similar to those who were either separated, divorced, widowed or never were married, according to the research. The study was published in the Journal of health and Social Behavior.
The researched had analyzed data from over 800,000 individuals who were part of a national survey held by the U.S. National Health Interview Survey from 1986 to 2004. Participants rated their own health ranging from poor to excellent. The researchers utilized follow-up data to identify over 24,000 participants who died between those years.
The study confirmed some previous findings that people who are not married had significantly increased death within three years. Never-married individuals who rate their own health as excellent were twice as likely to die within three years rather than those of who were both married and labeled themselves within excellent health.
That said, the study found that as health declines, the lower risk of death for married individuals tends to decline as well. Each unit declines in a self-rated health tally by 121%, while among those who rated themselves in poor health, there was no difference between married and unmarried.
“These results suggest that marriage may be important for the prevention of disease, but not as helpful once people become seriously ill,” Zheng said. “That’s why we see a protective effect of marriage when people are in excellent health, but not when they are in poor health.”
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