In theory being married is better for than you than being single, but theres a twist, says Ben Ambridge
Is your marriage healthy? Many studies have found that married people are healthier than unmarried ones, and the longer you have been married, the healthier you are. But it depends on gender and age. To find out for yourself, answer these questions:
1. When were you born?
a) before 1975
b) after 1975
2. How long have you been married?
b) less than 10 years c) 10+ years
Women married for less than 10 years are likely to be no healthier than people who never married. If you have been married 10+ years, its more complicated. If you were born before 1975, you are likely to be healthier than singletons; born after 1975, you are likely to be less healthy.
For men, there is no link between marriage and health. So marriage seems to give a health benefit only if you are a woman born before 1975 who has been married for 10+ years.
These are the findings of a new study at Ohio State University. Interestingly, they didnt include the effects of divorce. Previous studies may have over-estimated the benefits of marriage and not taken into account changes in society: marriage is healthier than living alone, but is no healthier than co-habiting with a partner or living with friends (the most common alternative for those born post 1975).
Are You Smarter Than a Chimpanzee? by Ben Ambridge is published by Profile Books, 12.99. Order it for 11.04 at bookshop.theguardian.com