Than Married Couples
who are living together, but do not express an interest in getting
married, are more depressed than couples who are married, according
to a recent report.
The report is based on data
from the 1987-1988 National Survey of Families and Households,
and was presented at the American Sociological Association meeting
currently going on in San Francisco. Women with children were
more likely to feel depression if they were cohabiting long-term,
but do not have plans to marry, the report says.
Researcher Dr. Susan Brown,
a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio,
looked at 404 married people and 137 people who had been living
with their partner for less than a decade. Cohabitors had an average
depression score of 17.2 compared to 13.3 for married people.
The average life dissatisfaction score was 5.3 for cohabitors
and 5.6 for married folks.
It is unknown why married
people reported a slightly higher dissatisfaction score.
Cohabitors may be more depressed
because those relationships tend to be less stable than marriages,
Brown says. But if living together is serving as a transition
to marriage, she says, then cohabitation probably will not negatively
affect a person's mental health.