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Do People Really Adapt To Marriage?

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  • Richard Lucas

    ()

  • Andrew Clark

Abstract

Although cross-sectional studies have shown a reliable association between marital status and subjective well-being, a recent longitudinal study (Lucas, Clark, Georgellis, & Diener, 2003) found no support for the idea that happiness increases after marriage. Instead, participants who got married reported short-term increases followed by complete adaptation back to baseline levels of well-being. However, researchers have criticized this study on two grounds. First, these results contradict cohort-based analyses from a nationally representative sample. Second, these analyses do not control for pre-marriage cohabitation, which could potentially inflate baseline levels of well-being. The original data (plus four additional waves) are reanalyzed to address these concerns. Results confirm that individuals do not get a lasting boost in life satisfaction following marriage.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10902-006-9001-x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Happiness Studies.

Volume (Year): 7 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 405-426

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:7:y:2006:i:4:p:405-426

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/content/1389-4978

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Related research

Keywords: subjective well being; marriage; adaptation; happiness; setpoint theory;

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  1. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, . "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IEW - Working Papers 143, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Richard E. Lucas & Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Ed Diener, 2002. "Re-Examining Adaptation and the Setpoint Model of Happiness: Reactions to Changes in Marital Status," DELTA Working Papers 2002-08, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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