Loved and lost or never loved at all? Lifelong marital histories and their links with subjective well-being

Mariah F. Purol, Victor N. Keller, Jeewon Oh, William J. Chopik, Richard E. Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Marriage has been linked to higher well-being. However, previous research has generally examined marital status at one point in time or over a relatively short window of time. In order to determine if different marital histories have unique impacts on well-being in later life, we conducted a marital sequence analysis of 7,532 participants from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (54.2% women; Mage  = 66.68, SD = 8.50; 68.7% White/Caucasian). Three different marital sequence types emerged: a ‘consistently-married’ group (79%), a ‘consistently-single’ group (8%), and a ‘varied histories’ group (13%), in which individuals had moved in and out of various relationships throughout life. The consistently-married group was slightly higher in well-being at the end of life than the consistently-single and varied histories groups; the latter two groups did not differ in their well-being. The results are discussed in the context of why marriage is linked to well-being across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • life satisfaction
  • lifespan approach
  • marital history
  • Sequence analysis
  • subjective well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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