Is Marriage Good or Bad for You?

It can be the fairytale that you have dreamed of all your life, or it can be an eternity of trouble and strife.

Because research projects and studies have shown marriage can either be the best thing or the worst thing to happen to your health.

The latest report suggests being married can make a woman ill, with American psychologists claiming women suffer from health problems more than their husbands.

But this is just the most recent in a long line of surveys which have shown the institution can either be good for your health -- with lower risk of illness and longer life expectancy -- or can be bad for you in terms of stress, putting on weight and lifestyle problems.

Here are just some of the scientific reasons why being hitched can lead to marital bliss, or wedded hell...

It's Heaven

A 2003 study of 1,000 towns and cities found that areas with higher marriage rates were happier than the average population.

  • Married men live an average of three years more than single men, with the mortality rate for single men three and a half times higher between the ages of 30 and 59. The mortality rate for married women is also much lower.
  • Happy marriages are the healthiest, with married people having thinner heart walls and lower blood pressure.
  • Married people are half as likely to develop Alzheimer's as single people, research by the Swedish Karolinska Institute showed.
  • A Swedish study of 5,500 men in 2002 showed that married men are less likely to die from heart disease and strokes than their coupled friends.
  • The health risk for the unmarried compared with married men widens in middle ages, the Office for National Statistics found in 2001. Its study revealed single men over the age of 45 are 23 percent more likely to die of illness.
  • Divorced men have a 20 percent increase in health risk, and widowed men 30 percent.
  • Dutch scientist Dr Inez Joung, at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, found that from a checklist of 23 major illnesses and health problems, from migraines and cancer to arthritis, married people were healthier on every score.
  • While other studies have found that fighting couples have increased health problems, a report from Sydney University in 2008 found that married women have smaller breast cancer tumors than married women who fight less.
  • Similary, a turbulent relationship has been found to help women reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. Women who bottle up their anger are four times as likely to die from such conditions.
  • A study at the University of California found that single men between the age of 19 and 44 are twice as likely to die as married men. They found a happy marriage can add five years to the life of men and women.
  • A study at the University of San Francisco found people in a relationship with a steady sex life are less likely to suffer from colds and the flu.

It's Hell
The most recent study by the American Psychosomatic Society in Chicago showed that married women were likely to suffer from increased levels of depression, as well as physical ailments such as heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
  • A study at the University of Missouri claimed that women are more likely to be murdered while married, while a criminologist in Washington DC suggested that a drop in the U.S. murder rate was due to the falling number of marriages.
  • With about half of all marriages collapsing, it's been proved in studies that divorce is bad for your health, with increased risk of physical and emotional health problems.
  • A turbulent relationship, with arguments, can also be bad for your health, Ohio State University researchers claimed.
  • They found fighting couples are more likely to suffer from viruses and high blood pressure.
  • In 1993, Mirror agony aunt Dr. Miriam Stoppard declared that: "Marriage is bad for women. Living with men seems to be a health hazard, they should come with a Government health warning."
  • A 12-year study into the health and lifestyle of British civil servants, published in 2007, claimed that an unhappy marriage could lead to increased stress and risk of heart disease.
  • A 2002 study of 8,000 couples by the University of Nottingham found that married men and women can pick up their partner's health problems.
  • Those married to a sufferer of asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, ulcers or depression were 70 percent more likely to develop the same symptoms.
  • Cohabitating can be better for your health than marriage or single life, a study on behalf of Somerfield found in 1998. The study discovered couples who move in together eat better and healthier than single people, but also better than married couples.
  • Women are more likely to be murdered while married.

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