A paper presentation at the annual conference of the American Sociological Association marriage and health by researcher Micheal McFarland of Princeton University has established the relationship between marriage and heart conditions in women.
The findings of the research reveal that a long lasting marriage translates into reduced risk of cardiovascular conditions in women, including high blood pressure.
How are health and marriage related?
While most studies on links between marriage, health and death were based on mortality records and general health reports, McFarland’s approach was based on biological risk factors. Accordingly his team of scientists sourced their information from the National Social Health and Aging Project. They chose a sample size of 534 men and 528 women aged between 57 to 75 years. Then they collected the marital history and health risk details of each of these participants.
Statistical analysis of this data showed that for every decade of continuous marriage, the women showed a 13% decrease in cardiovascular conditions. Going further, it reports that a divorce or widowhood has a negative impact on the heart. In contrast, McFarland and his team found no such effects on men.
What is it to women
The findings of this research go a step further to prove that breaking up is linked to ill health among women. Divorced and widowed women are 20% more prone to chronic diseases than married ones. However, this does not influence men as much. The study also revealed that most men are known to die earlier than their spouses. This means that more healthy women are getting married to unhealthy men; resulting in women being burdened with increased care-taking role.
Thus this research quells many myths in the sociology of marriage – marriage has more health benefits for men, women are not as affected by breakups or widowhood as compared to men and men married at younger ages live longer than women.