Cohabiting couples experience the same level of overall health as those who are married, a new study suggests.
Researchers made this claim after an analysis of 10,000 participants in the British National Child Development Study. This had followed the lives of 17,000 people who were born in the country during one week in March 1958.
The researchers conducted blood and respiratory system tests to assess the participants’ health. They also asked each participant to identify their marital status as single, cohabiting or married.
Living with a partner and marriage led to better overall health, the researchers concluded. Married and cohabiting men were both healthier than those who remained single throughout the monitoring period. Meanwhile, women who married in their late 20s to early 30s had better health than those who married at other ages or not at all.
The impact of marital status upon someone’s health may change with age, researchers added, but as their data only included those born in 1958, it was not possible to be sure how without further study. Considering the rise in cohabitation among younger generations, more data was required for comparison, they said.
The results were published in the academic American Journal of Public Health and they appear to back up previous studies on the subject. In 2013, Finnish researchers claimed that, on average, married men live seven years longer than those who remain single.