Sure I'm 'happier', but not happy.
By Melinda Wenner
A recent study suggests that marriage provides a greater psychological boost to depressed people than to happy people, even if the marriage is so-so.
Previous studies have suggested that the psychological perks of marriage depend upon marriage quality--a happy marriage gives rise to a happy couple, and vice versa.
Other studies have shown that depressed people, who tend to communicate poorly and require more caring and support than happy people, also end up in unhappier marriages.
So Adrianne Frech, a sociology graduate student at Ohio State University, and her colleague, Kristi Williams, speculated that happy people would garner more psychological perks from marriage than depressed people.
To test their theory, they looked at a sample of 3,066 men and women who had been interviewed and tested for depression once in either 1987 or 1988 and then again five years later. In the interviews, they were asked about the quality of their marriage (if they were married).
We mentioned a similar study conducted in Canada a few weeks ago (see Dish from TK). Long story, short, in people who are already happy, marriage has a small effect on increasing happiness. But people who were really down beforehand, get a major boost from marriage. Maybe they are just glad to have some companionship to make each and every last miserable day somewhat more tolerable. On the flip side, these poor people have the worst quality of marriage. It looks like misery loves company. You would think that natural selection would steer sad sacks together. And unless they’re martyrs or something, nature should (according to research) match happy folks together too. Unfortunately, there are people out there screwing up the balance. Like average-looking people dating models, some melancholics feel compelled to bring down Sally and Steve Smiles-A-Lot.