Getting married is good for the well being of both men and women, cutting down risks of depression, anxiety and substance abuse, says a new study.
The study was based on a survey of 34,493 people from 15 countries.
Conversely, ending marriage through separation, divorce or being widowed, is associated with much higher risks of mental disorders in both genders; particularly substance abuse for women and depression for men.
The wide-ranging study, led by clinical psychologist Kate Scott from the University of Otago in New Zealand is based on the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys across developing and developed countries in the past decade.
"There have been a number of international studies about the impact of marriage on the mental health of men and women and this is quite a controversial area because of the gender politics involved," says Scott.
"But what makes this investigation unique and more robust is the sample is so large and across so many countries and the fact that we have data not only on depression, which has been much studied in the past, but also on anxiety and substance use disorders," she says.
"In addition we were able to look at what happens to mental health in marriage, both in comparison with never getting married, and with ending marriage."
"One of the more important findings is that in recent years it has been asserted that marriage is better for men than for women in terms of mental health. This study does not agree with that position," Scott says.
"We found that compared to never getting married, getting married is good for both men and women in terms of most mental health disorders."
This study was recently published in Psychological Medicine.