If you regularly read our blog, you know that marriage is an institution
that’s gone through a tremendous foundational change over the past
30 years. Between same-sex marriage, higher divorce rates and people getting
married later in life, it’s a different world. Between 1960 and
today, the rate of American adults age 25 or over were unmarried doubled
from 10 to 20 percent.
Now there are many reasons for this, like cultural advancements and changing
attitudes toward gender roles. But now that a much clearer schism has
developed between the married and non-married folks, sociologists are
asking the question — which camp is actually happier?
The general consensus not too long ago was that married people were happier.
But new research from University of Auckland’s School of Psychology
finds that single people aren’t too far off from the married people’s
numbers in terms of happiness. The group tried to find the link between
relationship status and well-being through the lens of people’s
tendency for avoidance and their social goals. Using a sample of 187 students
at the university and a national sample of over 4,000, they found the
following, which they described in their abstract:
"Although prior research suggests that single people experience lower
well-being than those involved in romantic relationships, the effect of
relationship status is small. Moreover, relationships can be a source
of hurt and conflict, which single people can avoid."
"In both studies, single people high inavoidance goals who strive
to prevent relationship conflict and disagreements were just as happy
as people involved in a relationship. In addition, individuals high in
approach goals who strive to enhance relationship closeness experienced
greater life satisfaction/well-being but particularly when they were involved
in a relationship."
Have a look at their data and tell us what you think on Twitter at
Why Some People Are Just as Happy Being Single (Psychology Today)