Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 405–426

DO PEOPLE REALLY ADAPT TO MARRIAGE?

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-006-9001-x

Cite this article as:
Lucas, R.E. & Clark, A.E. J Happiness Stud (2006) 7: 405. doi:10.1007/s10902-006-9001-x

Abstract

Although cross-sectional studies have shown a reliable association between marital status and subjective well-being, a recent longitudinal study [Lucas et al. 2003, Journal of Personality & Social Psychology 84(3), pp.␣527–539] 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.

Keywords

subjective well being marriage adaptation happiness setpoint theory 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA