Healthy living * Mental wellbeing

Marriage good for health

Marriage good for health For both sexes

Being married or in a long-term relationship is good for your physical and mental health and helps you live longer.

Not only that, but the longer you are married, the greater the benefits.

A review of 148 published studies by David and John Gallacher at Cardiff University found that women in committed relationships have better mental health, while men have better physical health.

They also say it's likely that men’s physical health improves because of their partner’s positive influence on their lifestyle and “the mental bonus for women may be due to a greater emphasis on the importance of the relationship,” they write in the British Medical Journal.

However, not all relationships are good for you, as research suggests that single people have better mental health than those in strained relationships, and teenage relationships are linked to an increase in symptoms of depression.

Although breaking up is hard for those involved, and divorce can have a devastating impact on individuals, when it comes to relationships, "on balance it probably is worth making the effort," they said.

"The take home message is simple. Exclusive and supportive relationships confer substantial mental and physical health benefits that grow over time.

"Although failure of a relationship can harm health, that is an argument for avoiding a bad relationship rather than not getting into a relationship at all."

This article was published on Fri 28 January 2011

Image © Yuri Arcurs -

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