Friday, June 02, 2017

Health Benefits of Marriage Skewed By NYT Psychologist, Says Harvard Professor of Epidemiology in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

In her New York Times piece, psychologist Bella DePaulo uses a new study out of Switzerland17to argue that the effects of marriage on health are, in reality, negligible. A closer examination of the Switzerland study, however, indicates that DePaulo did not tell the full story about the Swiss research. Actually, the study begins by reporting that entry into marriage for unmarried men and women is associated with subsequently lower depression, while divorce is associated with subsequently higher depression.... 
But self-rated health is not necessarily synonymous with health itself. If one examines more objective measures studied elsewhere in the research literature, marriage is in fact protectively associated with more objective health measures.5,6,11,13,14,16,18 In my own research at Harvard University, in a paper using data from the Nurses’ Health Study that followed over 74,000 participants for over 16 years, marriage was associated with 14% lower mortality during the following 16 years (see Supplement eTable 12 of my study),18  even after controlling for numerous social, demographic, and baseline health variables (see figure below). While the study focused on religious service attendance, it also examined marriage. Although the effect of marriage is not huge, it is protective, and similar effects on mortality have been reported elsewhere.5,6,13,14
~ Dr. Tyler VanderWeele, IFS
Tyler J. VanderWeele, Ph.D., is Professor of Epidemiology in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health, a faculty affiliate of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and Director of the Program on Integrative Knowledge and Human Flourishing at Harvard University.
Let us remember that marriage is defined by God as between one man and one woman according to Scripture. Since He created marriage (indeed, all things), God's definition stands.

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