I know, I know. This isn’t the kind of news you want to hear on a Friday afternoon, but according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, single people are likely to die more than a decade earlier than married people. These findings are based on “data from some 90 previous studies [from the last 60 years], which included about 500 million people.” The risk of mortality for singles from those studies — defined as those who never married — were compared to that of married people (not including those who were divorced or widowed).
The study concluded that single men could die about eight to 17 years earlier than their married male counterparts, and single women could die about seven to 15 years earlier than their married female friends. “The researchers speculate their longevity findings could be tied to poorer health benefits, meager public assistance and less income for singles. And some singles may not have the same social support that married couples have ‘by default,’ explains lead author David Roelfs, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Louisville, Ky.
If you’re single, please take heart. This study isn’t without controversy, of course. Social psychologist Bella DePaulo, author of “Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After,” argues that not enough studies about married life vs. single life consider divorced and widowed people among “the married cohort, skewing the numbers.”
“You can’t say that single people would live longer if they got married, based on this research, because the researcher is only counting the people who got married and are still currently married. Divorced and widowed people got married at one time, too,” says DePaulo.
She’s so right. How many people who have been divorced would say that their marriages likely led them to an earlier death? That would be an interesting study… [via MSNBC.com]