Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Are married people happier than unmarried people

17.03.2003


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.



Psychologist and study lead author Richard E. Lucas, Ph.D., of Michigan State University says he and his colleagues found that most people were no more satisfied with life after marriage than they were prior to marriage. Widows and widowers were less satisfied with life after the death of their spouse than they were prior to marriage, but even they showed signs of adaptation and most eventually returned close to their initial life satisfaction levels.

An additional and unexpected finding of the study is that the most satisfied people reacted least positively to marriage and most negatively to divorce and widowhood. This finding shows the importance of the total circumstances of their life and not just their personality, according to the researchers.

"An event such as marriage or divorce does not have the same implications for all individuals. A person who is very satisfied with life probably has a rich social network and has less to gain from the companionship of marriage. On the other hand, the person who is lonely and, therefore, somewhat dissatisfied, can gain much by marrying. Similarly, the person who is very satisfied with his or her life because their marriage is wonderful has more to lose if their spouse dies," said the authors, who call this process "hedonic leveling" because it tends to equalize people’s overall happiness levels.

Participants of the study involved people living in Germany who entered the study from 1984 through 1995. The sample consisted of nearly 12,000 residents of West Germany, over 4,000 foreigners living in West Germany, over 5,000 residents of East Germany, and over 3,000 immigrants to West Germany. The participants were asked how satisfied they were with their life in general, using a scale that ranged from 0 (totally unhappy) to 10 (totally happy). Their answers where then compared to their marital status, controlling for yearly changes in overall life satisfaction in Germany due to the fall of the Berlin Wall and other factors.


Article: "Reexaming Adaptation and the Set Point Model of Happiness: Reactions to Changes in Marital Status," Richard E. Lucas, Michigan State University, Andrew E. Clark, Departement et Laboratoire d’Economie Theorique et Appliquee, Yannis Georgellis, Brunel University, and Ed Diener, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 84, No. 3.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at http://www.apa.org/journals/psp/press_releases/march_2003/psp843527.html

Study authors Richard Lucas, Ph.D., and Ed Diener, Ph.D., are available for media interviews. Dr. Lucas can be reached by phone at 517-432-4360 or by email, lucasri@msu.edu. Dr. Diener can be reached at 217-333-4804 or by email, ediener@s.psych.uiuc.edu.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 155,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Pam Willenz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apa.org/
http://www.apa.org/journals/psp/press_releases/march_2003/psp843527.html

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>