Seminars

The CPC Seminar Series takes place between October and June, all seminars are free to attend and no registration is required. If you would like to present please contact cpc@soton.ac.uk.

Re-evaluating the link between marriage and mental well-being: how do early life conditions attenuate differences between cohabitation and marriage?

21st January 2016 2pm, University of Southampton, 58/1067

Marta Styrc, University of Southampton

The decline in marriage and increase in cohabitation raises questions about whether marriage still provides benefits to well-being. Here we use the British Cohort Study 1970 (N=7203), a prospective survey following respondents to age 42, to examine whether partnerships in general, and marriage in particular, provide benefits to mental well-being in mid-life. We use propensity score matching to investigate whether childhood characteristics are a sufficient source of selection to eliminate differences in well-being between different partnership types. We find that matching on childhood characteristics does not eliminate advantages to living with a partner. However, the type of partnership does not matter; among those less likely to marry, marriage provides no benefits to well-being beyond cohabitation. The sources of childhood selection seem to differ by gender: matching on educational plans and scores tends to eliminate differences for women, while adolescent mental well-being eliminates many differences between cohabitation and marriage for men.

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