Living together or getting married provides young adults — especially women — with a boost to emotional health, a new study finds.
Researchers analyzed data from 8,700 Americans who were born between 1980 and 1984, and interviewed every other year from 2000 to 2010.
The study authors found that single young women had a similar increase in emotional health whether they moved in with someone or got married for the first time. For men, marriage seemed to be the key to improving their emotional health.
When it came to finding love the second time around, both men and women had similar improvements in emotional health when they moved in with someone or got married, the findings showed.
The study was published online Dec. 3 in the Journal of Family Psychology.
As recently as the early 1990s, getting married gave people a bigger emotional lift than living with someone, the investigators found.
These findings suggest that living together no longer carries the stigma it did in previous generations, according to study co-author Claire Kamp Dush, an associate professor of human sciences at Ohio State University.
Today, about two-thirds of couples live together before marriage, she pointed out.
“At one time, marriage may have been seen as the only way for young couples to get the social support and companionship that is important for emotional health,” Kamp Dush said in a university news release.
“It’s not that way anymore. We’re finding that marriage isn’t necessary to reap the benefits of living together, at least when it comes to emotional health,” she added.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about emotional health.
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