Getting Married and Not Getting Healthy: Decades of Data
Debunking the myth of the health benefits of marrying
Posted Dec 28, 2013
The assumption that if you get married, you will get healthier is so much a part of our conventional wisdom that it is rarely challenged. Back when I was just practicing single life and not studying it, I had no idea that the supposed truism was actually a myth. I figured that out fast, though, once I started going to the original research reports and scrutinizing them. I drew from what I had learned from decades of doing research and teaching graduate courses in research methods, but some of the mental errors in the claims about the research are so egregious that you should not need any formal training to realize how ridiculous they are.
My first comprehensive debunking of the claims about getting married and getting healthy were published in the second chapter of Singled Out. There I describe what is wrong with the research behind those claims, and take a close look at some examples of different kinds of research. Maybe because it was the first time I was spelling it all out, even for myself, that is still, after all these years, my favorite debunking of the myths about getting married.
I’ve kept it up ever since. Whenever a new study about getting married and supposedly getting healthier hits the news, I hit the books. I look up the original study, and see what it actually says. Below are my discussions and critiques, organized into three sections: I. Physical Health, II. Mental Health, and III. Also Relevant.
I also have other collections of links to related topics, such as getting married and not getting happy, and getting married and not getting to live longer. A few readers have asked me to update those collections and post links to them here. I’m hoping to get to those before too long.
I. PHYSICAL HEALTH
Overall Physical Health
Blood Pressure, Stroke, Heart Health
II. MENTAL HEALTH
Overall Mental Health
Psychopaths, Antisocial Behavior
III. ALSO RELEVANT
[Note: Thanks to everyone nudging me to post this and the other collections of links. I’ll also post them to the blog at my personal website.]