A positive connection between marriage and health has been seen in scientific research for over a century. The idea that marriage has benefits for one’s health has also been part of folk wisdom for millennia. The definition of health includes physical, mental, and social well-being. Although the health-related benefits of marriage are seen in many studies, the reasons for these benefits remain an area of research and debate. In the United States, marriage now includes the recognition of legal unions between people of the same sex, but the preponderance of research on marriage and health has been on opposite-sex couples. This entry examines how marriage affects physical health and mental health. It also looks at efforts to encourage marriage and increase marital satisfaction.


In 1858, British ...

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