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Study Finds Longevity Gap Between Married and Unmarried People

A study performed by Michigan State University found a widening mortality gap between married and unmarried people. The information in the MSU study bodes well for those in marriages, but unfortunately, not all marriages last - with many ending in divorce.

The MSU Study

Researchers at MSU analyzed national mortality rates from 1986 to 2000, a time when illness-related mortality rates were declining. Despite the overall improvement in longevity, however, the researchers found that unmarried, divorced and widowed people did not live as long as married people.

This and previous studies analyzing the effect of marriage on mental, emotional and physical health also found that married men and women have much lower rates of depression than unmarried individuals. Further, studies say people in first marriages are the least depressed of all.

Experts put forth three possible reasons for this finding. First, the "social selection hypothesis" says people who are not depressed are more likely to be selected for and to choose to marry. Therefore, it should not be surprising that more depressed people are not married.

The second theory proposes that marriage, happiness and longevity are each promoted by some as-yet undetected factor, like socioeconomic status, and that there is a correlation but not a causal relationship between them. In contrast, the "social causation hypothesis" argues that marriage in fact causes well-being and that marital status and depression are inversely related.

Whatever the reasons why married people may live longer, being unhappy in a marriage can be a poor way to live. If you are considering divorce, call an experienced family law lawyer to get your life back.

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