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T he link between relationship status and well-being is a complicated one. Still, trends do seem to exist among people in different types of relationships, with potential lessons that all adults—regardless of their marital status—can use to better their quality of life. Here are seven ways flying solo may affect your health, for better or worse.
A study in the journal Health Psychology shows that happily married couples tend to gain weight in the four years after getting hitched. Without the pressure to attract a new mate, the authors say, newlyweds can get complacent about their appearance. A recent Australian study in the journal Body Image showed that women who feel pressured to slim down before their wedding gained more weight within the following 6 months.
Married men were more likely to be overweight or obese compared to their peers who were single, in relationships, or engaged, according to a University of Minnesota study of young adults. And you may be a better one, at that: A University of Massachusetts at Amherst study found that single people were better at maintaining relationships with friends, neighbors, and extended family than those who had tied the knot—both with and without kids.
Other studies have also found that single adults tend to do more volunteer work and keep in close contact with their siblings, says DePaulo. And in fact, there are plenty of areas where single people stress less than those in relationships. According to a University of Michigan study, for example, they do less housework than married people.
Money woes may weigh less on single people as well. Married people are also more likely to have credit card debt—not exactly a health issue in itself, but something that has been shown to detract from both emotional and physical wellbeing. Single people are often viewed as lonely and unhappy, says DePaulo, which can in turn have a negative effect on their overall health. But that may be changing: the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that, for the first time, the majority of adults in the United States are unmarried, with singles clocking in at Married people tended to be more optimistic about their recovery going into surgery, but they also had lower smoking rates than single people—an important factor in their higher five-year survival rates.
She points to a RAND Corporation survey on alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project, which found that veterans who had never been married reported higher levels of resiliency—the ability to bounce back after injury, illness, or hardships—than those who were married, divorced, or separated.
Divorced and widowed people in the study also had a higher risk. In a study from the University of Texas at Austin of more than 9, people there was no statistically ificant difference in cardiovascular disease risk between those who were currently married or had never gotten hitched.
This article originally appeared on Health. at letters time. Getty Images. By Health. Get our Health Newsletter. up to receive the latest health and science news, plus answers to wellness questions and expert tips. Please enter a valid address. Please attempt to up again. Up Now. An unexpected error has occurred with your up. Please try again later.
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