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Mental health

The married are on average in much better mental health than the different kinds of unmarried. Cochrane (1988) reports the mental hospital admissions in England for the married and others (Table 6.4). It can be seen that the divorced have 5½ times the admission rate of the married. Gove (1972) found much the same for American males, though the effect for females was weaker. But are these effects caused by marriage, or are the depressed and others less likely to get or stay married? Horwitz et al. (1996) carried out a quasi-experimental study of 829 men and women who were followed up for 7 years, starting when they were 25. Those who got married showed a decline in depression and alcoholism compared with the single. The effect was less for females, probably because women who were initially depressed were less likely to get married.