Bookwala and her co-author, Erin Fekete of the University of Miami, analyzed data from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS I), examining responses from more than 1,500 Americans age 40 to 74 who identified themselves as either “married” or “never married.”
According to the researchers, the results of their study reveal that although never-married adults report somewhat lower levels of overall emotional well-being as those adults in the same age group who chose to go the marriage route, they are comparable to their married counterparts on the possession of psychological resources that are handy in coping with life’s challenges.
“When it comes to psychological resources, these individuals do not seem to be at any disadvantage whether they remained single or got married,” says Bookwala. “This may also serve as one more factor to dispel the old myth that states that there may be ‘something wrong’ with people over 40 who never married.”
The researchers compared three specific psychological resources—personal mastery, agency, and self-sufficiency—between heterosexual never-married and married adults. (Those who reported being widowed or divorced were not included in the sample). Personal mastery has been described as the degree to which individuals believe that they have control over the events that occur in their life, and has been found to play a protective role in the development of depression. Agency refers to a tendency to focus on the self rather than others, and has been associated with superior mental health, including less depression and anxiety. Self-sufficiency can be characterized as a sense of autonomy, which has been linked in other research to a sense of autonomy and better mental health.
In general, she adds, never-married adults are a neglected group in terms of empirical research on marital status and its impact on wellbeing. “They are either excluded or collapsed with other non-married groups,” she says. “In this study, however, this group is of central focus.”
She says their results showed that never-married adults scored lower than married adults on social resources such as social integration in groups and organizations and perceived support from family, but no differently from married adults on psychological resources—personal mastery, agency, and self-sufficiency. “And, more interestingly, our research indicates that these psychological resources played a stronger role in emotional wellbeing for never-married adults than for married adults. This suggests that never-married adults may rely more heavily on their psychological resources to enhance wellbeing”
When never married persons who had high levels of personal resources were compared with their married counterparts who had similar levels of these personal resources, the researchers found that the never-married respondents reported superior emotional wellbeing than those who were married.
An especially intriguing finding was that while higher self-sufficiency is a positive for never-marrieds, it can be detrimental for married individuals, according to Professor Bookwala. “It is possible that self-sufficiency may undermine the interdependence between spouses.” Among married adults, those who reported being less self-sufficient, and thus likely possessing a higher level of interdependence, were happier than their counterparts who were less self-sufficient adults. However, in the group that remained single, higher emotional wellbeing was characteristic of those who had greater self-sufficiency.
“The findings suggest that while being self-sufficient when one is single predicts higher emotional well-being, being self-sufficient within marriage may work against such wellbeing,” she says. “A possible explanation for this difference is that, in marriage, interdependence—rather than self-sufficiency—may foster higher emotional wellbeing.”
The research is slated to appear in the next issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: http://spr.sagepub.com/ an international and interdisciplinary peer reviewed journal that is the leading journal in the field, publishing empirical and theoretical papers on social and personal relationships. It is multidisciplinary in scope, drawing material from the fields of social psychology, clinical psychology, communication, developmental psychology, and sociology.
For more information, contact Jamila Bookwala, associate professor of psychology at Lafayette College http://ww2.lafayette.edu/~bookwalj at 610-330-5285 or firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Kristine Y. Todaro, director of news services, at 610-330-5119 or email@example.com
Kristine Y. Todaro | Newswise Science News
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences