What can marriage bring you? Happiness? A lifelong partner? Responsibilities? More than those, it gives you better health.
Married people enjoy better health than unmarried people, including lower rates of depression and cardiovascular conditions, and also longer lives. The conclusion has been proved by a large amount of studies, although most of the studies targeted on heterosexual people.
A new study evaluating the advantages of marriage was carried out across heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual (gay or lesbian) adults. The study confirms previous conclusion but, surprisingly, denies that bisexual adults experience better health when married.
Facts about the study
The study collected data from the 2013 to 2017 National Health Interview Survey and the researchers analyzed reports of self-rated health and functional limitation. The data involved 1,428 bisexual adults, 2,654 gay and lesbian adults and 150,403 heterosexual adults.
Results show that heterosexual and homosexual individuals are healthier when they are married than unmarried.
For homosexual individuals, the rates of reporting good health are about 36% higher among married gay and lesbian adults than never married or previously married gay and lesbian adults.
For heterosexual individuals, rates of functional limitation, such as difficulty in climbing stairs and going out for shopping, are 25% to 43% lower among married heterosexual adults than cohabiting, never married and previously married ones.
However, bisexual individuals experience poorer health than heterosexual or homosexual individuals including higher rates of mental disorders, cardiovascular conditions and disability.
Among bisexuals who are married or cohabiting, those with a same-sex partner are healthier than those with a different-sex partner. Bisexual individuals with a same-sex partner report 2.3 times higher good health and 61% lower functional limitation than those with a different-sex partner.
Two popular explanations lie behind heterosexual and homosexual persons experiencing better health when married: marriage protection argument and marriage selection argument.
Marriage protection: marriage increases economic security and social support, and encourages healthier lifestyles, like less smoking and drinking, and better diets.
Marriage selection: people with more education, income and other health-favorable characteristics are more likely to get married and stay in marriage.
For bisexual individuals, however, health may be negatively affected by marriage because bisexual people are often perceived by both heterosexual and homosexual people as indecisive about their sexual orientation, sexually permissive, and unfaithful or untrustworthy as romantic partners.