Married People Are Less Stressed Out Than Singles

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For single people, it's a question you never want to hear: "When are you getting married?"

Your grandma really does want what's best for you, though. She might not know it, but every time she asks why you're still single, she's just looking out for your well-being. Because thanks to a new study, we know now that married individuals are actually healthier than those who are single, divorced, or widowed.

Published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, the study looked at the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, inside married and single individuals. It's long been believed that people who are married deal with less psychological stress than their single counterparts and researchers wanted to confirm that — or prove it wrong. Using saliva samples collected from 572 adults aged 21 to 57, a team at Carnegie Mellon University tested for cortisol over three nonconsecutive days.

What researchers found was that married people had less cortisol than those who were single or previously married. The research team looked at individual cortisol rhythms, too. Generally speaking, people wake up with a certain level of cortisol and as the day progresses, that level drops. In married people, that level dipped at a faster rate, something that's associated with "less heart disease and longer survival among cancer patients," according to Carnegie Mellon.

"It’s is exciting to discover a physiological pathway that may explain how relationships influence health and disease," said Brian Chin, co-author of the study and a PhD student at the university.

It's one more reason for married people to be smug, but if you're single, don't let it get you down. A separate (albeit more informal) study found that non-married people are more likely to stay in touch with friends, neighbors, and family, as well as feel more a part of their communities. Plus, plenty of people are choosing to be single — and nothing feels better than doing what's right for you.
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