Happy Marriages Linked To Longer Life Span

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A recent study has found that people in happy marriages have a higher chance of living longer.

According to the study published in Health Psychology, the odds of dying early for people who described their marriage as either ‘very happy’ or ‘pretty happy’ was around 20 percent lower than those who said their unions were ‘not too happy’.  The increased longevity was consistent across age, gender, race, geographical location, and educational background, the researchers found.

‘The significant prospective association between marital satisfaction and mortality suggests that reducing marital dissatisfaction may increase longevity,’ the study authors said.

The findings were based on answers from married people in the General Social Survey between 1978 and 2010. The survey asked over 19,000 married people aged 90 and under to rate the happiness and quality of their marriage. The researchers then looked at their health and survival rates up to the year 2014.

One of the authors of the study, Mark Whisman, at the University of Colorado Boulder, suggested marriage could improve health by making people feel more secure. 

Marriage, he said, ‘provides people with meaningful roles and identity, a purpose in life, a sense of security.’

He suggested there could be other positive impacts from marriage, as spouses could pick up healthier habits from each other.  They could also feel more socially supported, he said.

‘A high-quality marriage can serve as a buffer against chronic or acute stressors in life,’ he said.

And as married couples tend to spend more time with each other than anyone else, he added, ‘we think there’s something more specific about the marital relationship relative to other social relationships.’

A different study published earlier this year found that married people were happier than those who were not. 

The National Opinion Research Center, in Chicago, Illinois surveyed 35,000 Americans over a thirty-year period. and found that 40 percent of married people said they were “very happy” compared to only 24 percent of those who were unmarried, divorced, separated, or widowed.