Happily Married Couples Live Longer, Study Says

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

Married couples live longer and are able to adapt better to health setbacks, according to researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Cincinnati.

The rate of single people is continuing to rise, from 400,000 in 1960 to 7.6 million in 2011, according to U.S. Census data. However, new research indicates being single and willing to mingle forever and always isn’t necessarily the best option for your end-goal of longevity.

Researchers reported they found, while looking at the national healthy survey data from nearly 200,000 people, that the rate of mortality among men in cohabiting relationships dropped by 80 percent, while the rate dropped 59 percent for women.

Karen Sherman, author of “Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, & Make It Last,” told CBS News in Cleveland married individuals undergoing heart bypass surgery are three times more likely to stay alive 15 years later than their single peers.

The Census Bureau statistics shows American marriages have dropped from 2.45 million in 1990 to 2.08 million in 2010.

“This helps us to understand the implications of this relatively new rise in cohabitation,” MSU sociologist Hui Liu, the study´s lead researcher, told the CBS news station. “Many assume marriage and cohabitation are wholly the same, but our research showed that cohabitation, generally, led to a shorter lifespan.”

However, being married isn’t always the solution. The study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, also found a bad marriage could be lethal to your health. The authors wrote high-conflict marriages have been shown to cause more stress.

A study reported by redOrbit back in August found marriage can increase middle-aged women’s drinking rate, and could also lower men’s drinking rate.

“Marriage and divorce have different consequences for men´s and women´s alcohol use,” study author Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, told Health Day. “For men, it´s tempered by being married and exacerbated by being divorced.”

The researchers suggest men appear to be slowing their drinking rate after getting married, but that a compromise is essentially made as women drink more. While a man may not drink as much once married, he still drinks more than the woman did before she tied the knot, according to the study.

Perhaps each study supports the other, as one claims married people are more adaptable, and the other shows adaptation is made to each others alcohol habits.

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