Marriage important for mortality in older age, regardless of marital quality
Researchers assessed how certain characteristics of social networks affected participants’ risk of death.
They found that being married, having a larger social group, greater participation in social organizations, and being emotionally closer to social contacts were equally important factors for mortality in older age.
The team was surprised to find that marriage was beneficial for mortality, even among subjects with poor marital quality. “We observed no association between measures of support from the spouse and mortality, indicating that the presence of a marital bond may be more important for longevity than certain aspects of the bond itself,” says Iveniuk.
Time spent with friends and family, feelings of loneliness, and access to social support were found to be less important factors for mortality, the team reports.
Overall, the researchers say their findings highlight the importance of good family relationships for a longer life.
“Going back to the very first sociological theorists, many different thinkers have noted that there is some kind of special significance that people attribute to family ties, leading people to stay close to and support people who wouldn’t necessarily be individuals that they would associate with if they had the choice,” says Lead author James Iveniuk, of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, Canada.
Source: Medical News Today