Do People Really Adapt To Marriage?
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.
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Volume (Year): 7 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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- Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006.
"Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?,"
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics),
Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
- Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2005. "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IZA Discussion Papers 1811, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- 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.
- 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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