Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 191–203

Can Marriage Reduce Risky Health Behavior for African-Americans?

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10834-010-9242-z

Cite this article as:
Ali, M.M. & Ajilore, O. J Fam Econ Iss (2011) 32: 191. doi:10.1007/s10834-010-9242-z


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.


African-Americans Marriage Propensity score matching Risky health behaviors 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Toledo and Office of Regulations, Policy & Social Science, Food & Drug AdministrationCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA

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