Marriage doesn't benefit everyone
Kayt is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the Author's Guild and the National Association of Science Writers (NASW). She has recently returned to the United States after living abroad for six years and has just published her first book, DIRTY MINDS: HOW OUR BRAINS INFLUENCE LOVE, SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS, an exploration of the neurobiology of love (Free Press, 2012).
Kayt Sukel's writing credits include personal essays in the Washington Post, American Baby, the Bark, USAToday, Literary Mama and the Christian Science Monitor as well as articles on a variety of subjects for the Atlantic Monthly, Parenting, Cerebrum, BrainWork and American Baby magazines. She blogs regularly about traveling on the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award winning travel blog, Travel Savvy Mom; and science, love and life at the Houston Chronicle's Hearts and Minds blog.
You can often find her oversharing on Twitter as @kaytsukel.
You've heard it time and time again: marriage is good for your health.
Studies have shown that married folks not only live longer but also enjoy better health than their singleton peers. Married couples have a lower risk of strokes, cancer and heart attacks. Married folks are less depressed and anxious--not only that, but marrieds often show increased overall happiness.
The particular reasons behind these marriage benefits are somewhat debatable. But the general consensus is that marriage offers you a healthier, less-stressful lifestyle, better financial security, and a partner to help you weather life's storms (and, perhaps, to nag you to take better care of yourself).
But do these benefits extend to all married couples? New research from the Ohio State University and the University of Texas at Austin suggests maybe not.
The researchers used data from nearly 800,000 people who participated in the National Health Interview Survey. Hui Zheng, a professor of Sociology at Ohio State, discovered something interesting when looking at the marriage/health data. Those of us who are already in poor health don't get a boost from marriage. This held for both men and women. But perhaps even more telling, smug marrieds tended to overestimate their own health.
Zheng says that this data suggests that marriage may show a protective effect before you get sick--but not after. And that the social support involved in a marriage may make individuals underestimate how debilitating their conditions may be.
What do you think? Does marriage really have all the health benefits we've been led to believe?
Photo credit: Khamidulin Sergey
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