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Marriage Is Bad For Your Health

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Marriage modestly increases longevity for some men, but may decrease longevity and other common measures of well-being for women and for most men:

From an interview in The Atlantic with Howard S. Friedman, author of The Longevity Project:

One of our longevity myths is “Get married, and you will live longer.” The data tell a different story.

Marriage was health-promoting primarily for men who were well-suited to marriage and had a good marriage. For the rest, there were all kinds of complications.

For example, women who got divorced often thrived. Even women who were widowed often did exceptionally well. It often seemed as if women who got rid of their troublesome husbands stayed healthy—most women, it seemed, can rely on their friends and other social ties. Men who got and stayed divorced, on the other hand, were at really high risk for premature mortality. It would have been better had they not married at all. [Emphasis mine.]

Consequences like these should be kept in mind when we consider policies that promote marriage as an alleged correlate of good outcomes.

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Written by Sister Y

March 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm