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Feeling depressed? Get married

Even an average marriage gives a greater psychological boost to the depressed than to the happy people, avers study.

health and fitness Updated: May 19, 2008 18:28 IST

Feeling depressed get married. At least this is what a new study quoted by LiveScience.Com suggests. But it also concludes that marriage even if "so-so" gives a greater psychological boost to the depressed than to the happy people.

Previous studies, the website says, have suggested that the psychological perks of marriage depend upon marriage quality a happy marriage gives rise to a happy couple, and vice versa.

Taking a cue from the earlier studies, Adrianne Frech, a sociology graduate student at Ohio State University, and her colleague, Kristi Williams, speculated that happy people would garner more psychological perks from marriage than depressed people.

In order to test the hypothesis, they looked at a sample of 3,066 men and women who had been interviewed and tested for depression once in either 1987 or 1988 and then again five years later. In the interviews, they were asked about the quality of their marriage (if they were married).

On an average, accounting for differences in depression, subjects who had got married over the five-year span between the two interviews reported improved psychological well-being in the second interview scoring an average of 3.42 points lower on the 84-point depression scale -than their counterparts who did not marry .

However, when they teased apart into how marriage affected those who had been depressed at the start of the study to those who had been happy, they came across something unexpected.

The depressed who married scored an average of 7.56 points lower on the depres sion scale than the depressed who did not marry, while those who were happy and got married scored only 1.87 points lower on the scale.

In other words, marriage provided a much bigger psychological boost to the depressed subjects than to the happy subjects, the website reported.

"We were surprised," Frech told LiveScience. "We expected the depressed to have worse marital quality and therefore benefit less from a transition into marriage."