Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies

Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 1991), pp. 97-102

Coombs, R. H.


Do unmarried individuals experience more emotional and health problems than their married counterparts? According to more than 130 empirical studies on a number of well-being indices, married men and women are generally happier and less stressed than the unmarried. Marriage is particularly rewarding for men. This review finds little support for the selection hypothesis which asserts that the relationship between marital status and well-being is spurious since emotional maturity explains both conditions. However, the evidence is consistent with the protection/support hypothesis that a marital partner who provides companionship and psychic aid buffers individuals against physical and emotional pathology.