The Effects of Marriage on Health: A Synthesis of Recent Research Evidence. Research Brief. Marriage, Health, and Policy

07/01/2007

Recent research suggests that marriage improves certain health outcomes. However, the picture of marriage's overall effect on health is not yet complete. Future research could more fully explore the effects of marriage on health care costs; the health effects of marriage for different racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups; the role that marital quality might play; and the intergenerational health effects of marriage. Moreover, little rigorous research has been conducted concerning the central question of whether marriage affects physical health. Additional research in these and other areas could help clarify the breadth of the health effects of marriage. Better information about how marriage affects health can contribute to discussions about the role and purposes of public policy in supporting marriage — and possibly give a new meaning to the phrase “healthy marriage.”

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