The Arguments for Marriage: The Effects of Marital Transitions on Self-Rated Health

Sean Clouston, McGill University
Amélie Quesnel-Vallée, McGill University

Life course transitions are often attributed with having substantial impacts on the health of Americans. Marriage is often touted as being beneficial for health, though little research pertains directly to the health impact of the transition itself. Testable pathways include: marital 'benefits' approaches, selection arguments, and ideas that couples 'clean up' prior to marriage (a sort of selective causation). The importance of gender in marital transitions is often the object of some debate, with findings varying widely. This paper seeks to fill these gaps by considering the health trajectories of both men and women going through such transitions. Data used come from ten years of the PSID. Lowess and Polynomial curves are used along with Fixed Effects Regression. Findings suggest that the marital transition has nonlinear effects on health in unexpected directions. Gender differences are minimal and only result in a slight decrease in change of health trajectories of women.

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Presented in Poster Session 5