Is getting married good for your health?
Researchers in the US studied 493 women over a period of more than 13 years. They compared two groups: women who were married or living with a partner, and women who were single, widowed or divorced. The scientists carried out detailed analysis of their health (cholesterol levels, high blood pressure...) and also asked the volunteers questions about their home lives and general happiness. The research revealed some surprising links between marital status and risk factors for heart disease.
Healthy heart, healthy mind
The results of the study showed that women who were happily married had a lower risk of cardiac problems than women who were in less stable relationships or single. They had noticeably lower blood pressure and lower levels of bad cholesterol, too. More surprising still, married women tended to have a lower BMI, meaning they were less likely to suffer from being overweight or obese.
But the health benefits don’t stop there. The married women in the study also seemed to be less prone to psychological disorders. Fewer suffered from depression or anxiety, and being married also seemed to help these women feel secure. This meant they were less likely to be sensitive to stress or lose their temper.
The researchers also discovered that the difference was particularly striking between happy and unhappy marriages. Women who didn’t get along with their spouses had significantly more psychological problems. According to the scientists, women were more likely to be affected by harmony in their relationships than men. Any upsets were likely to affect their mood straight away.
So should we all get married?
The advantages of being married are undeniable. The study has led to many hypotheses, including the idea that social isolation and unhappy marriage are both risk factors for the development of psychological disorders. Scientists also believe that the benefits could be down to couples’ lifestyles (regular, healthier meals etc.). Couples might also live more healthily because of practical reasons, such as having more disposable income.
This isn't the first study to come to these conclusions. Previous research has demonstrated the positive effects of getting married for men as well, proving that both genders benefit from matrimonial bliss... Maybe getting married isn’t such a bad idea after all?