Married people are more satisfied than single people, study finds

Wellbeing levels almost double when a person’s spouse is also their best friend

Olivia Petter@oliviapetter1
Friday 22 December 2017 16:47

Married people have many reasons to be smug: they can share expenses, they can live freely without the fear of dying alone and they can spend time with other smug married people feeling, well, smug.

Alas, there’s yet another reason for married folk to feel good about themselves.

According to a new study, individuals who have tied the knot boast better wellbeing and overall life satisfaction.

In a paper published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, researchers collected data from two UK surveys in order to examine the benefits of marriage and marital friendship.

Lead authors Shawn Grover and John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics in Canada looked at the British Household Panel Survey, which collected data from 30,000 people between 1991 and 2009, to get a sense of how overall life satisfaction measured in the UK.

They also looked at the Annual Population Survey between 2011 and 2013, which provided data on 328,000 Britons and revealed differences between life satisfaction rates among the married, the unmarried, and the never-married for all age groups.

After careful examination of both sets of data, they found that marriage can significantly boost life satisfaction, particularly for those approaching middle-age.

“We find that the married have a less deep U-shape in life satisfaction across age groups than do the unmarried, indicating that marriage may help ease the causes of the mid-life dip in life satisfaction and that the benefits of marriage are unlikely to be short-lived,” the study states.

The researchers also looked at the effects that friendship can have between spouses and found that this could be the key to true long term marital bliss.

“The wellbeing benefits of marriage are much greater for those who also regard their spouse as their best friend,” the authors concluded.

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