Study: Married Women Are Happier Than Unmarried Women

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Well, unmarried woman living in traditionally conservative societies, that is.

The results of a worldwide study presented at the British Sociological Association annual conference in London on Friday found that in countries where marriage was strongly valued, women who lived with their partners but weren’t married were reportedly unhappier than married women.

(More on TIME.com: Marriage is a changing institute)

Why were they so blue? Researchers Olga Stavrova, Professor Detlef Fetchenhauer and Dr Thomas Schlosser speculated that the cause of the unhappiness wasn’t directly due to being unmarried exactly, but more from society’s view on the unmarried.

More details from the researchers:

“In countries where the social norm with respect to female gender roles is defined in more traditional terms as a wife, women who live with their partners before or instead of marriage can be considered to violate this norm and are more likely to be exposed to social disapproval. Consequently, they are more likely to report lower happiness scores.”

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They go on to add that society’s disapproval harms women’s self-esteem and psychological well-being. We’re not sure about society, but this study certainly doesn’t seem like the biggest pick-me-up. (via Telegraph)

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