Marital Status and Happiness, 1972-1996
Adams, Mary Margaret
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Several studies indicate that married persons have higher levels of happiness that persons in other marital categories. In recent years, there has been some debate over whether marriage still involves significant advantages. In 1988, a study by Glenn and Weaver using U.S. national survey data, indicated that there had been a steady decline in the positive relationship between marriage and reported happiness from 1972 through 1986: married females were reporting lower levels of happiness and never-married males were reporting higher levels of happiness. More recent data presented in this thesis indicate that the trends in happiness observed by Glenn and Weaver (1988) have not continued. New data from 1987 through 1996 show an increase in the happiness of both married males and females, and a slight decrease in the happiness of never-married males. Data also indicate that neither life satisfaction, or socioeconomic factors, or cohabitation can explain the relative increase in the happiness of the never-married, compared to the married, observed by Glenn and Weaver (1988) from 1972 through 1986. Contrary to Glenn and Weaver (1988), evidence presented in this thesis suggests that marriage continues to be an important institution: married persons continue to have significantly higher levels of happiness than persons in other marital categories. Further, marriage provides persons with benefits that cannot be obtained from other living arrangements such as cohabitation.
- Masters Theses