Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Holy Matrimony!, Marriage May Not Slow Your Demise

Marriage may not be the healthiest choice for everyone. Photo courtesy of Archdiocese of Balitmore.

REMEMBER that Newsweek nonsense, or screed against a whole gender, from years ago? The one about a 40-year-old woman having a better chance of an encounter with a terrorist than a groom? Yeah, that one.

Well, ladies (and gentlemen), marriage may not be all its cracked up to be. No surprise there. Around half of married couples in the United States has worked out that bit of calculus. It has been discovered, though, that marriage may not do you any good if you are in bad health.

This is the upshot of the results of a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Titled Marital Status, Self-Rated Health, and Mortality: Overestimation of Health or Diminishing Protection of Marriage?,” the article also asserts that married types tend to exaggerate for the better the state of their health.( http://www.bit.ly/y28MNP)

The revelation providing the most buzz, however, concerns married folk in poor health who are just as likely to perish within in the same timeframe as unmarried folk in similar circumstances. (This is not the case for marrieds in excellent and good health.) The unmarried label applies broadly to never married, separated, widowed and divorced types. The finding is contrary to previously accepted studies in this area.

An article in the current issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior makes some surprising assertions about the effects of marriage on mortality.

“We believe marriage is still good for the health of some people, but it is not equally protective for everyone,” study leader Hui Zheng told the Ohio State University (OSU) news service. HZ, an assistant professor of sociology at OSU, undertook the study with Patricia Thomas of the University of Texas at Austin (UTA). “For those who are already in poor health, marriage doesn’t seem to provide any extra benefits.”

All this said, written, discovered and divulged, marriage is still considered more beneficial to the health than being unmarried for various reasons, including the very important one of having a helpmate. Considering this reality, no one should embark on an anti-marriage campaign.

Incidentally, the findings apply exclusively to the United States. Things may be different in Nicaragua and Nigeria. Also worth noting is that the study is relatively old. HZ&Co. drew data from nearly 800,000 participants between 1986-2004. Alas, studies take time, then there is the long publication timeline.

Still, unmarrieds and want-to-be marrieds have a single bit of news in which they can take heart.

Visit http://www.bit.ly/y28MNP to learn more about “Marital Status, Self-Rated Health, and Mortality: Overestimation of Health or Diminishing Protection of Marriage?” and/or purchase the Journal of Health and Social Behavior at select newsstands.Rx

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