Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 533–551 | Cite as

Revisiting the Relationship Between Marriage and Wellbeing: Does Marriage Quality Matter?

  • Bruce Chapman
  • Cahit GuvenEmail author
Research Paper


This paper revisits the marriage and wellbeing relationship using variables reflecting marriage quality and data from the US, the UK and Germany. People in self-assessed poor marriages are fairly miserable and much less happy than unmarried people, even in the first year of marriages. However, people in self-assessed good marriages are even happier than the literature suggests. Women show greater range of responses to marriage quality than men. The effect of employment status and subjective health on happiness and the marriage effects on interpersonal trust and mental health change dramatically when marriage quality is controlled for. A strong link from happiness to marriage does not exist. However, happier people are more likely to stay single instead of being unhappily married, but less likely to stay single compared to being very happily married and happiness cannot predict staying single versus being pretty happily married.


Marriage Happiness Wellbeing Marriage quality Gender differences 

JEL Classification

D14 D63 I31 

Supplementary material

10902_2014_9607_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (298 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 297 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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