A study in Winnipeg hints that while married men are happier than unmarried men, the same is not necessarily true for women.
For the study, doctors. Philip St. John and Patrick Montgomery used a sample population of 1,751 people aged 65 or over. These people were asked about their marital status and whether they suffered from symptoms of depression. Those who had a partner were also asked to rate their relationship on a scale from “terrible” to “delightful.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, men and women who were dissatisfied with their marriage were much more likely to have signs of depression (38 per cent in men and 42 per cent in women) than those who were happy in their marriage (seven per cent in men and 14 per cent in women).
The less-predictable result was that men who were never married had higher rates of depression than men who were married, but in women the opposite was true: women who were married had a higher rate of depression than those who were never married. “Perhaps we were a little more surprised than our wives!” joked St. John, associate professor of medicine at the Centre on Aging at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.
Results don’t mean that marriage is, by definition, miserable for women and happy for men. Differences may have more to do with the types of people who do or don’t get married.
“The unmarried women, in particular, were very highly educated,” says St. John. “They may have gone on to careers which may have been beneficial for mood.” On the other hand, men who remained unmarried “may have other issues which impeded marriagiability and predisposed to depression.”