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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Re-evaluating the link between marriage and mental well-being: how do early life conditions attenuate differences between cohabitation and marriage? Seminar

Social Statistics and Demography
21 January 2016
Building 58, Room 1067

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Centre for Population Change on 02380 592579 (Mel Morgan – Centre Administrator) or email .

Event details

A Centre for Population Change seminar

The decline in marriage and increase in cohabitation raises questions about whether marriage still provides benefits to well-being. Here we use the British Cohort Study 1970 (N=7203), a prospective survey following respondents to age 42, to examine whether partnerships in general, and marriage in particular, provide benefits to mental well-being in mid-life. We use propensity score matching to investigate whether childhood characteristics are a sufficient source of selection to eliminate differences in well-being between different partnership types. We find that matching on childhood characteristics does not eliminate advantages to living with a partner. However, the type of partnership does not matter; among those less likely to marry, marriage provides no benefits to well-being beyond cohabitation. The sources of childhood selection seem to differ by gender: matching on educational plans and scores tends to eliminate differences for women, while adolescent mental well-being eliminates many differences between cohabitation and marriage for men.

Speaker information

Marta Styrc , Centre for Population Change. University of Southampton

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