Title page for ETD etd-051299-225359


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Adams, Mary Margaret
URN etd-051299-225359
Title Marital Status and Happiness, 1972-1996
Degree Master of Science
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hughes, Michael D. Committee Chair
Edwards, John N. Committee Member
Terrell, George R. Committee Member
Keywords
  • marital status
  • cohabitation
  • gender
  • happiness
Date of Defense 1999-05-11
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Several studies indicate that married persons have higher levels of happiness that

persons in other marital categories. In recent years, there has been some debate over

whether marriage still involves significant advantages. In 1988, a study by Glenn and

Weaver using U.S. national survey data, indicated that there had been a steady decline in

the positive relationship between marriage and reported happiness from 1972 through

1986: married females were reporting lower levels of happiness and never-married males

were reporting higher levels of happiness. More recent data presented in this thesis

indicate that the trends in happiness observed by Glenn and Weaver (1988) have not

continued. New data from 1987 through 1996 show an increase in the happiness of both

married males and females, and a slight decrease in the happiness of never-married

males. Data also indicate that neither life satisfaction, or socioeconomic factors, or

cohabitation can explain the relative increase in the happiness of the never-married,

compared to the married, observed by Glenn and Weaver (1988) from 1972 through

1986. Contrary to Glenn and Weaver (1988), evidence presented in this thesis suggests

that marriage continues to be an important institution: married persons continue to have

significantly higher levels of happiness than persons in other marital categories. Further,

marriage provides persons with benefits that cannot be obtained from other living

arrangements such as cohabitation.

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