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Marriage is Good for Your Health

September 29, 2016

Susan Martinuk

As governments and individuals struggle to make informed and well-considered public policy decisions on the issue of healthcare it is becoming increasingly important that they take into account the state of Canadian marriages. Marriage is Good for Your Health examines more than 50 published, empirical studies on the correlation between marital status and health. An overwhelmingly large majority of the studies indicates that married couples are happier, healthier, and live longer than those who are not married. Moreover, there is strong research to back the conclusion that the quality of a marriage is a critical variable in the health benefits that couples enjoy.


(click image for full infographic)

Health Advantage Highlights

Numerous studies indicate that married people tend to have:

  • Higher likelihood of recovering from cancer
  • Lower risk of suffering a heart attack
  • Better odds of surviving a heart attack
  • Quicker recovery from illness
  • Healthier habits and lifestyles
  • Better responses to psychological stress

The Marriage Quality Factor

Having a marriage where partners experience high satisfaction with their relationship, predominantly positive attitudes and low hostility towards their mate is vital for couples' good health advantages. By contrast, a considerable body of research indicates a low-quality marriage has several harmful effects on couples' health:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased depression
  • ncreased time needed for healing of physical wounds
  • Increased levels of stress hormones
  • Decreased immune function

Public Policy Implications

Marriage is a private choice, but it has public consequences for the Canadian healthcare system. Canadians' declining participation in marriage isn't merely a statistical trend. Given that marriage has been found to be a factor in better cancer recovery and fewer cardiac problems, should it not be considered a public health issue? Could public policy that supports and improves the quality of Canadian marriages not lead to lower costs for the public health system? Governments, religious institutions, the medical profession, and communities all need to be aware that marriage is an important factor in individuals' health outcomes. If these groups understand the relationship between marital status and illness, healthcare can be improved both for those who are married and those who are not.

Download the report using the sidebar button on the right.

PDF file - $free

Canadians' Work-Life Balance: What Gives?

September 2, 2016

Peter Jon Mitchell

One in three of working Canadians said they are dissatisfied with their work-life balance. Yet eighty-five percent said a satisfactory work-life balance is very important to them – so what gives? Canadians' Work-Life Balance is the fifth of five parts in the Canada Family Life project and is based on data from Nanos Research.
PDF file - $free

Canadian Millennials and the Value of Marriage

August 24, 2016

Peter Jon Mitchell

How do millennial Canadians perceive the role of marriage in family life and its function in society? Canadian Millennials and the Value of Marriage is the fourth of five parts in the Canada Family Life project and is based on data from Nanos Research.
PDF file - $free

The Canada Family Life Project

Nanos Research Poll Results for Cardus Family

June 1, 2016

Andrea Mrozek and Peter Jon Mitchell

Canadians place a high value on family. Yet a number of obstacles threaten their ability to achieve the family lives to which they aspire. Nanos Research reveals a number of gaps between Canadians’ realities and their expectations, especially regarding children and child care, the role of marriage, and care for aging parents and the elderly.

Download the report using the sidebar button on the right.

Plus: download the Nanos Research data reports and crosstabulations:
CARDUS Fertility Intentions Summary
CARDUS Family Life Summary
CARDUS Caregiving Summary

PDF file - $free