Thursday, August 14, 2008

Married Folks Still the Healthiest

People who've exchanged wedding vows tend to be healthier
By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

People who've exchanged wedding vows tend to be healthier than their single, divorced or widowed peers, but new research shows that health gap may be narrowing.

Interviews with today's never-married men suggest they are healthier than never-married guys were three decades ago, researchers say. And that's helping single males gain some ground, in terms of their health, compared to married people.

"One of the most-often documented facts is that married people are healthier than non-married people, but the difference between married and unmarried people has changed over the past few decades," said the study's lead author, Hui Liu, an assistant professor and sociologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

The findings are in the September issue of theJournal of Health and Social Behavior.

Liu said there are two theories as to why married people report better health. One is that being married gives you more access to social support and economic resources. The other is that being divorced or widowed hurts health.

"In general, marriage tends to make people healthier, happier and richer, and that's especially true for men," said Scott Wetzler, vice chairman of psychiatry and behavioral science, and head of the "Supporting Healthy Marriage" program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

But because trends in marriage have changed so dramatically over the past few decades, with more people opting not to marry or marrying at later ages, Liu wanted to assess what, if any, effects these changes might have on physical health.

See: Married Folks Still the Healthiest -

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