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|Title:||Marital status and well-being|
|Author(s):||Scott, Christy K.|
|Doctoral Committee Chair(s):||Diener, Edward F.|
|Department / Program:||Psychology|
|Degree Granting Institution:||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Abstract:||In an attempt to disentangle the causal relationship between marital status and psychological well-being, two general hypotheses were tested. The first hypothesis follows from a model of well-being in which changes in major life events are presumed to cause changes in well-being. Accordingly, transitions into marriage and remarriage will produce increases in well-being, whereas divorce will produce decreases in well-being. The second hypothesis, one known as the selection theory, was also tested. According to the selection theory, marital status is a consequence of selectivity, in that preexisting variables such as well-being predispose people to certain marital statuses. Accordingly, people who report high levels of well-being will be more likely to marry and stay married than people who report low levels of well-being. Understanding the relationship between marital status and well-being involves more than the issue of causality; it is equally important to identify variables that mediate such a relationship. Therefore, variables including gender, personality, and the presence of a companion were considered.
Data from a national probability sample were used in the present study to observe the interplay among the aforementioned variables over a 10 year period. It is clear from this study that transitions into marriage, including both first marriages and remarriages, fail to produce long-term increases in well-being. Moreover, divorce did not decrease well-being. In contrast, preexisting variables including well-being, extraversion, and Type A predisposed people to certain marital statuses. Individuals who reported higher levels of well-being were more likely to marry and stay married than individuals who reported low levels of well-being. Extraverts were more likely to to marry than introverts, and individuals who reported high levels of Type A were more likely to divorce. Based on this pattern of results, it is an error to automatically assume that differences in the levels of well-being reported by individuals in different marital status groups are causally attributable to marital status. Personality drives our selection of events and may ultimately impact our experience of these events.
|Rights Information:||Copyright 1992 Scott, Christy K.|
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2011-05-07|
|Identifier in Online Catalog:||AAI9236589|