Your spouse may drive you nuts sometimes, but the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show that being married is actually better for your mental health than any other marital status!
Australia’s married people are much less likely to experience anxiety, depression and panic attacks than those who are single, separated, divorced, widowed, engaged or de facto. Their stress levels are also dramatically lower, second only to widowed people.
But while few would be surprised that people going through a separation are more likely to experience stress, depression and other mental health conditions, the comparatively high rate of these illnesses among people in de facto relationships, and those who are engaged to be married, is not so immediately understandable.
Incidence of mental health conditions by marital status
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January– December 2014 (n=51,969). Base: Australians 14+
Just like their married peers, de facto couples live together. They may own property together, have children together and/or share finances, and have much the same legal rights as married couples. And yet, people in de facto relationships are much more likely than married couples to experience anxiety (21% vs 12%), depression (18% vs 10%), panic attacks (7% vs 3%) and stress (32% vs 21%).
People who are engaged to be married have a similarly high incidence of mental health issues: last year, 21% reported experiencing anxiety, 20% were affected by depression, and a hefty 44% suffered from stress.
Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“Despite what comedians around the world may say, our findings show that marriage is more beneficial for a person’s mental health than any other marital status.
“It makes sense that separated and divorced people have higher rates of anxiety, stress, depression and panic attacks: the breakdown of a marriage is not pleasant at the best of times, and can be downright traumatic. But the elevated incidence of mental health conditions among people who are engaged and in de facto relationships raises a few questions.
“In theory, being engaged should be a blissfully happy and romantic time in someone’s life. But organising a wedding is extremely hard work, often subject to family politics, budget constraints, disagreements about everything from flower arrangements to what kind of music the DJ should play at the reception. No wonder some couples choose to elope!
“The reason for the increased likelihood of mental health problems among de factos is less obvious, but one thing is for sure: suddenly that old chestnut about marriage being ‘just a piece of paper’ no longer sounds quite as convincing…”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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