A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows “just how poorly the singles do,” according to lead author David Roelfs, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Louisville, Ky.The researchers analyzed the data from nearly 90 previous studies, which included about 500 million people, and compared the risk of mortality for singles from those studies — defined as those who never married — to that of a married group, excluding those who are divorced or widowed.
The researchers found the risk of death was 32 per cent higher across a lifetime for single men compared to married men. Single women face a 23 per cent higher mortality risk, compared to married women. In real numbers, “under the worse-case scenario,” single men could die about eight to 17 years earlier than their married male friends, says Roelfs, citing that nearly all of the data was gleaned from studies conducted in the last 60 years. Women don’t fare much better. They could die seven to 15 years earlier than their married female counterparts. The researchers speculate their longevity findings could be tied to poorer health benefits, meager public assistance and less income for singles.
And some singles may not have the same social support that married couples have “by default,” explains Roelfs. “If you’re a couple, a spouse may be after you to eat better and go to the doctor,” he says.“Sometimes it’s just easier to be healthier and less of a risk taker when you’re married.” Though single people can get some of that same support from parents, siblings and friends, he says. There is some good news for the spouseless: Singles who survive their younger years actually fare well over a lifespan. The relative risk of death for singles aged 30 to 39-years-old was 128 per cent greater than among married people of the same age, but decreased to about 16 per cent for single 70-year-olds when compared to 70-year olds in wedded bliss, according to the study.
So all you single ladies (and dudes) out there, it’s worth noting that, while the new research looked at mortality risk from a very large group, the study results are about “probabilities, not certainties,” says Roelfs. “The last thing we want is for some single person to say ‘Oh my God, I’m going to die young.’”
Courtesy – msnbc.com