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In 2012, four authors published a statistical analysis and summary of 18 studies of people who wed and eight of couples who divorced.
Social psychologist Bella De Paulo recently took another look at that meta-analysis in a blog post for Psychology Today.
In other words, marriage didn't appear to matter much at all.
To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers studied three separate data sets that included information about thousands of couples: The United Kingdom's Annual Population Survey, the British Household Panel Survey, and the Gallup World Poll.
But is it actually the act of marriage that's causing those benefits? In fact, there's loads of evidence to the contrary: A 2012 study found that couples who lived together but were married had higher self-esteem and were happier overall than their counterparts who were married.Then, they controlled for couples' age, gender, income, and health conditions (all of which could potentially affect their results).Here's a chart from the study comparing the "life satisfaction" of couples who were married (blue bars) with couples who lived together but were unmarried (red bars).Rather, they really only give us insight into what happens to people who get married .We don't know much about what happens to those who get married and then get divorced or separate.