Study involving over 24,000 people finds general life satisfaction affects attitude toward marital happiness
In a large longitudinal study that sheds new light on the association between marital status and happiness, researchers have found that people get a boost in life satisfaction from marriage. But the increase in happiness is very small -- approximately one tenth of one point on an 11-point scale -- and is likely due to initial reactions to marriage and then a return to prior levels of happiness. Data from the 15-year study of over 24,000 individuals living in Germany also indicates that most people who get married and stayed married are more satisfied with their lives than their non-married peers long before the marriage occurred.
The results, published in the March issue of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, highlight how the process of adaptation plays a role in life satisfaction. Although people may initially react strongly to life events, evidence suggests that they eventually return to their normal levels of happiness. Even people who have won huge amounts of money or who have experienced debilitating injuries appear not to greatly differ in life satisfaction from the average person.
Pam Willenz | EurekAlert!
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