Want to live longer and improve your health? Get married and stay married

Want to live longer and improve your health? Get married and stay married

The happily married not only live longer by engaging in a healthier lifestyle, but they also have more friends.  This new round of news articles regarding the “marriage advantage,” comes from major studies done in seven European countries.  Some of the key research findings include:

  • Marriage and other forms of partnership can be placed along a sliding scale of commitment, with greater commitment conferring greater benefit.
  • Marriage can reduce the chance of premature death by 15 per cent.
  • Evidence suggests that the optimal age for marriage is after age 25 for men, but between the ages of 19 and 25 for women.
  • In terms of physical health, men benefit most from marriage; in terms of mental health, women benefit most.
  • The benefits of marriage increase with the longevity of marriage.

John Gallagher, a Cardiff University academic involved with the meta-analysis of approximately 140 studies addressed the question of relationship quality.  He was quick to point out that strained relationships can be bad for mental health, but he added:  “Although failure of a relationship can harm health, that is an argument for avoiding a bad relationship rather than not getting into a relationship at all…  On balance, it is probably worth making the effort.”

 

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