, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 191-203
Date: 05 Jan 2011

Can Marriage Reduce Risky Health Behavior for African-Americans?

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Abstract

This paper estimates whether marriage can improve health outcomes for African-Americans through changes in risky health behaviors like smoking, drinking, and drug use. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health and propensity score matching methodology to account for the potential selection bias, the results show that marriage does lead to a reduction in risky health behaviors, specifically drinking and drug use. This question has important policy implications because if marriage has the same benefits for African-Americans as it does for the general population, social welfare programs can be re-evaluated to incorporate marriage promotion, and further support can be given to programs that decrease adverse health behaviors.