Men With Healthy Marriages Live Longer

Men With Healthy Marriages Live Longer

People have often wondered whether men and women lived longer and healthier lives if they were married or single. Interestingly, studies have been done on the subject by comparing health interviews with death data.

Study Number 1

In one study, the United States 1989 national health interview survey (NHIS) was merged with the 1997 United States to identify the difference in mortality between married people and unmarried people.

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After 1989, 5876 people died during the period of time the study was ongoing. This represented 8.77 percent of individuals. 61,123 people or 91.23% were found to be still living. The researchers controlled for socioeconomic and demographic characteristics and found that the death rate for those who weren’t married was significantly higher when compared to those who were still married and were living with their marriage partner.

This effect was found to be most significant for those people who had never married and this included both men and women. It was found to be the most significant among men when compared to women. The study was done on both young people and old people.

Young people who were not married and who were between the ages of 19 and 24, the main causes of death were infectious diseases such as HIV and external causes, such as accidents and injuries. This is the same population of men who engage in risky behavior and who are involved in the most cases of driving while intoxicated.

Among middle-aged men and older men, the main causes of death were heart disease and other chronic conditions. It is believed that, by living successfully with another person, symptoms can be talked about and support is given for seeking medical attention by one’s spouse. Those that live alone and are unmarried have no one to encourage them to seek medical attention and thus the greater risk of death from diseases that might have been preventable.

The researchers concluded that, in both men and women, being in a current marriage was related to living longer. Those who were never married seemed to have the highest rates of death. The reason for this wasn’t made clear in the study.

Study Number 2

In another study, prevalence estimates were given and health risk behaviors were studied among American adults, dividing the statistics according to marital status and health statistics, including health risk behaviors and health conditions. The data were taken from the 1999-2002 National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS).

Computer-assisted personal interviews were taken to provide data on US civilian noninstitutionalized people. The response rate from the various households addressed was 88.7 percent. The report gathered data on more than 125,000 individuals, all of whom were older than 18 years of age.

For the four years evaluated, the total response rate was about 72 percent. The statistics were adjusted for age to match the 2000 US population. They categorized people according to marital status as being widowed, divorced, married, separated, living with a partner, or not married.
The study looked at the health status of people living under the above conditions. They divided the people into sex, age, race, education, Hispanic origin, income, nativity, and education. Across all these groups, conditions of health were assessed as being in fair or poor health, having low back pain, having headaches, having limited activities, being under serious stress, being inactive when it comes to leisure time and smoking behaviors.

What they found is that those adults who were married were generally considered healthier than anyone in any other marital status category was. They looked at the marital statuses of those between the ages of 18 and 44, 45 and 64, and over the age of 65. The health of people who were married and who were 18 to 44 years of age was most pronounced if the person was married as opposed to having some other marital status.

The only health statistic found to be present more often in married persons was obesity. It was found that married men especially had a higher rate of obesity when compared to other individuals who were not married. People who were never married carried the least risk of obesity when compared to others.

Overall, the health and longevity were better in men who remained married. The reasons for this are believed to be related to having someone to notice health problems and someone to talk about health problem in and this was overall felt to be in the married group of people. When a person has someone to help them take care of their health, they are usually more likely to seek medical attention for ailments that could become fatal if not treated.


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