Skip to Main Navigation. Each navigation link will open a list of sub navigation links.

Skip to Main Content

Apply to the University of Wyoming

Global Resource Navigation

Visit Campus
Download UW Viewbook
Give to UW

University of Wyoming Extension

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

LIFE - Individual Growth and Development

Reasons Why Marriage is Beneficial

Health

Physical and Mental

  • Married status related to a variety of positive physical and mental health benefits (Waite, 1995)
  • Marital distress related to a variety of mental and physical problems (Cherlin & Furstenberg, 1994; Coie, et al., 1993; Coyne, Kahn, & Gotlib, 1987; Cowan & Cowan, 1992; Fincham, Grych, & Osborne, 1993)
  • Marital disruption most powerful predictor of stress-related physical and emotional illness (Rosen, et al., 1977, cited by Larson, et al., 1995)
Physical
  • Married persons have greater longevity (Lillard & Waite, 1995) (Larson, Swyers, & Larson, 1995: 43-48 note the long history and cultural universality of this phenomenon)
  • Married persons report better physical health, are more actively engaged in monitoring own/partner’s health
  • Non-distressed partners less likely to suffer effects of verbal and physical abuse
Mental
  • Overall well-being rated higher by married persons rated higher by married persons
  • Married persons less likely to be depressed (Coyne, et al. 1987), commit suicide (Stack & Wasserman, 1993), abuse substances (Crum, et al., 1993), engage in criminal activity

Couple Interaction

  • Married people have a more active and satisfying sex life (Waite, 1997)
  • Positive interaction skills and processes have beneficial outcomes; negative interaction patterns have negative outcomes (see Stanley & Markman, 1997)

Economics

Workplace Productivity

  • Marital distress related to lower productivity, job loss (Forthofer, Markman, Cox, Stanley, & Kessler, 1996)
Economic Well-being
  • Married individuals generally have higher incomes/standard of living than singles, esp. those raising children and ethnic minorities (Census Bureau, 1990; Waite, 1997) and married couples save more than singles (Waite, 1995)
Consumer Spending
  • Families with married partners (esp. raising children) have higher disposable income than families headed by single persons (and less likely to be on welfare—see below)

Children

  • Growing up with single parent more highly correlated to poverty (McLanahan & Sanderfur, 1994)…with consequent risks for poverty-related negative outcomes (teen pregnancy, violence and crime involvement, drop-out and lower economic prospects, substance abuse)
  • Effects of conflict, divorce generally increase distress and increase adjustment problems (Cowen & Cowen, 1995)
  • Destructive conflict between parents related to negative effects for children (Gottman, 1994; Markman & Halweg, 1993; Clements, Stanley, & Markman, 1997; Cowan & Cowan, 1992; Grych, & Fincham, 1990)
  • Youth violence and alienation linked to father-absence (divorce, desertion, and non-investment in marriage/family: Blankenhorn, 1995) decrease academic performance, drop-out (McLanahan & Sanderfur, 1994)
  • More often victimized by boyfriends and stepparents than by biological parents
  • More likely to establish stable, satisfying relationships if parent role models had a happy marriage (Glenn & Kramer, 1987)
  • More likely to receive consistent care, with the variety of two healthy parent personalities (Blankenhorn, 1995)

Social

  • Costs of welfare (Bianchi & McArthur, 1991), violence, child non-support, lost productivity and taxable income
  • Benefits of stability not like those of cohabitation (Brown & Booth, 1996)
  • Stable integration into and involvement in neighborhood promotes community solidarity

References

Bianchi, S. & McArthur, E. (1991). Family disruption and economic hardship: The short-run picture for children. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-70, No. 23. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Blankenhorn, D. (1995). Fatherless America. New York: HarperCollins.

Brown, S.L.; & Booth, A. (1996). Cohabitation versus marriage: A comparison of relationship quality. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 668-678.

Cherlin, A.J.; & Furstenberg, F.F., Jr. (1994). Stepfamilies in the United States: A reconsideration. Annual Review of Sociology, 20, 359-381.

Clements, M.; Stanley, S.; & Markman, H.J. (1997). Predicting divorce. Manuscript in preparation, cited by Stanley & Markman, 1997.

Coie, J.; Watt, N.; West, S.G.; Hawkins, J.D.; Asarnow, J.R.; Markman, H.J.; Ramey, S.L.; Shure, M.B.; & Long, B. (1993). The science of prevention: A conceptual framework and some directions for a national research program. American Psychologist, 48, 1013-1022.

Cowan, C.P.; & Cowan, P.A. (1995). Interventions to ease the transition to parenthood: Why they are needed and what they can do. Family Relations, 44, 412-423.

Cowan, C.P.; & Cowan, P.A. (1992). When partners become parents: The big life change for couples. New York: HarperCollins.

Coyne, J.C.; Kahn, J.; & Gotlib, I.H. (1987). Depression. Family interaction and psychopathology: Theories, methods, and findings. New York: Plenum Press.

Crum, R.M.; Helzer, J.E.; & Anthony, J.C. (1993). Level of education and alcohol abuse and dependence into adulthood: A further inquiry. American Journal of Public Health, 83, 830-837.

Fincham, F.; Grych, J.; & Osborne, L. (1993). Interparental conflict and child adjustment: A longitudinal analysis. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, New Orleans, LA.

Forthofer, M.S.; Markman, H.J.; Cox, M.; Stanley, S.; & Kessler, R.C. (1996). Associations between marital distress and work loss in a national sample. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 597-605.

Glenn N.D.; & Kramer, K.B. (1987). The marriages and divorces of the children of divorce. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, 811-825.

Gottman, J.M. (1994). Why marriages succeed or fail. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Grych, J.; & Fincham, F.F. (1990). Marital conflict and children’s adjustment. Psychological Bulletin, 108, 267-290.

Larson, D.B.; Swyers, J.P.; & Larson, S.S. (1995). The costly consequences of divorce: Assessing the clinical, economic, and public health impact of marital disruption in the United States. Rockville, MD: National Institute for Healthcare Research.

Lilliard, L.A.; & Waite, L.J. (1995). ‘Til death do us part: Marital disruption and mortality. American Journal of Sociology, 100, 1131-56.

Markman, H.J.; & Hahlweg, K. (1993). The prediction and prevention of marital distress: An international perspective. Clinical Psychology Review, 13, 29-43.

McLanahan, S.; & Sanderfur, G. (1994). Growing up with a single parent: What hurts, what helps. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Rosen, R.; Goldsmith, H.F.; & Rednick, R.W. (1977). Demographic and social indicators from the U.S. Census of Population and Housing: Uses for Mental Health Planning in Small Areas. Rockville, MD: National Institutes of Mental Health, p. 24.

Stack, S. & Wasserman, I. (1993). Marital status, alcohol consumption, and suicide: An analysis of national data. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 1018-1024.

Stanley, S.; & Markman, H.J. (1997). Acting on what we know: The hope of prevention. Paper presented at Family Impact Seminar Roundtable Meeting, Washington, DC, June 23-24, 1997.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1990). Money, income, and poverty status in the United States, 1989. Current Population Reports, Series P-60, Number 168. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Waite, L.J. (1997). Why marriage matters. Paper presented at Family Impact Seminar Roundtable Meeting, Washington, DC, June 23-24, 1997.

Waite, L.J. (1995). Does marriage matter? Demography, 32, (4), 483-507.


Share This Page:

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Twitter Icon Youtube Icon Instagram Icon Vimeo Icon Facebook Icon

Accreditation | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Gainful Employment | Privacy Policy | Accessibility Accessibility information icon