DO PEOPLE REALLY ADAPT TO MARRIAGE?
- 595 Downloads
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.
Keywordssubjective well being marriage adaptation happiness setpoint theory
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Davis, J.A., T.W. Smith and P.V. Marsden: 2003, General Social Surveys, 1972–2002 [Computer File] (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI). Available at: http://webapp.icpsr.umich. edu/GSS/Google Scholar
- Easterlin, R.A.: 2005, ‘Is there an “iron law of happiness”?’ Institute of Economic Policy Research Working Paper (05.8. Retrieved July 15, 2005 from http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/scpwpaper/05-8.htmGoogle Scholar
- Freedman D.A., (2001). Ecological inference and the ecological fallacy In: Smelser N.J., Baltes P.B., (eds), International Encyclopedia for the Social and Behavioral Sciences Vol 6 Elsevier New York, NY pp. 4027–4030Google Scholar
- Haisken-De New J.P., Frick R., (2003). Desktop Companion to the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (GSOEP) German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), BerlinGoogle Scholar
- Inglehart, R.: 2003, World Values Surveys and European Values Surveys, 1981–1984, 1990–1993, and 1995–1997 [Computer File] (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann␣Arbor). Available at: http://webapp.icpsr.umich.edu/cocoon/ICPSR-STUDY/02790.xmlGoogle Scholar
- Lucas, R.E.: 2005, ‘Time does not heal all wounds: A longitudinal study of reaction and adaptation to divorce’, Psychological Science 16, pp. 945–950Google Scholar
- Lucas R.E., Dyrenforth P.E., (2005). The myth of marital bliss? Psychological Inquiry 16: 111–115Google Scholar
- Lucas, R.E. and P. Dyrenforth: in press, ‘Social relationships and subjective well being’, in K.D. Vohs and E.J. Finkel (eds), Intrapersonal Processes and Interpersonal Relationships: Two Halves, One Self (Guilford Press, New York)Google Scholar
- Raudenbush S., Bryk A., Congdon R., (2004). HLM 6.0 [Statistical Software] Scientific Software International, Lincolnwood, ILGoogle Scholar
- Stutzer, A. and B.S. Frey: In press, ‘Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?’ Journal of Socio-EconomicsGoogle Scholar