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The Effects of Marriage on Health: A Synthesis of Recent Research Evidence.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Wood, Robert D.
Goesling, Brian.
Avellar, Sarah.
Technical Report
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This synthesis focuses on recent research evidence concerning one of these potential benefits of marriage-the effects of marriage on health. In general, married people are healthier than those who are not married across a wide array of health outcomes(Schoenborn 2004). The existence of an association between marriage and health does not necessarily imply that marriage causes better outcomes, however. In particular, people who marry may already be healthier than those who do not, and this may be the reason for the better health of married adults. An examination of the relevance of these patterns for public policy must include careful consideration of whether the association between marital status and various health measures indicates that getting and staying married actually improves health. To provide a broad understanding of the current research on the link between marriage and health, we have synthesized recent literature across several fields, including public health, the social sciences, and medical science. We focus on research published in peer-reviewed journals and on studies using the most rigorous methods for determining whether the link between marriage and health is a causal one. we focus on research conducted with U.S. populations and completed since 1990. (Author abstract, modified)

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