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Cohabitors More Depressed
Than Married Couples

      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.

Reference Source 71

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