A University of Missouri expert says that people who have happy marriages are more likely to rate their health as better as they age; aging adults whose physical health is declining could especially benefit from improving their marriages.
Great news for married people. Even better news for marketers of health supplements and functional foods? Could Match.com be the new supplement sweetspot? Should online dating profiles "likes" include "protein shakes and St. John's Wort" as well as "margaritas and walks in the rain?"
Christine Proulx, an assistant professor in the university's Department of Human Development and Family Studies, found that happily married couples consider themselves healthier. She analyzed data from 707 continuously married adults who participated in the Marital Instability Over the Life Course panel study, a 20-year, nationwide research project started in 1980 with funding from the Social Security Administration's Office of Research and Statistics and the National Institute on Aging. The study, "The Longitudinal Associations between Marital Happiness, Problems, and Self-Rated Health," will be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Family Psychology.
“We often think about the aging process as something we can treat medically with a pill or more exercise, but working on your marriage also might benefit your health as you age,” Proulx said in an MU press release.“Engaging with your spouse is not going to cure cancer, but building stronger relationships can improve both people’s spirits and well-being and lower their stress.”
Proulx suggests that medical professionals should consider how marital quality affects patients' health. And for the other, unmarried half of the country? Certainly, supplement and functional food manufacturer have products that could help these less healthy people. After all, they have money to spend, as they're not blowing paychecks on Valentines or anniversary presents.