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Marriage provides happiness stability


Married people are happy. At least in the long run.

According to a new study from Michigan State University scientists, they find that while married people are generally not as happy as they were when they were single, marriage does appear to maintain a certain level of happiness. In the end, they are protected against the normal declines in happiness which occur during adulthood.

“Our study suggests that people on average are happier than they would have been if they didn’t get married,” proclaimed Stevie C.Y. Yap, a researcher in MSY’s Department of Psychology.

Personality and the ability to adapt

Yap and his associates Ivana Anusic and Richard Lucas, looked at data from thousands of participants in a long-running national British survey. They wanted to discover whether personality helps people adapt to major life events including marriage. And the answer is no.

Personality traits like conscientiousness or neuroticism do not help people deal with major, typical life events like losing a job or having a baby.

“Past research has suggested that personality is important in how people react to important life events,” Yap explained. “But we found that there were no consistent effects of personality in how people react and adapt to these major events.”

Stability of marriage cited

They were able to see in the data that similar-aged participants who did not get married showed a gradual decline in happiness as the years passed. The people who were married went against that trend. They don’t believe it’s a causal relationship, that marriage made people happier. Instead they think that marriage kept happiness level stable.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Research in Personality

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