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Marital Status and Well-Being: A National Study Comparing First-Married, Currently Divorced, and Remarried Adults

Helen R. Weingarten
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 47, No. 3 (Aug., 1985), pp. 653-662
DOI: 10.2307/352266
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352266
Page Count: 10
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Marital Status and Well-Being: A National Study Comparing First-Married, Currently Divorced, and Remarried Adults
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Abstract

The relationship of marital status to well-being is investigated by comparing national survey responses of first-married, remarried, and currently divorced adults. The goal of this inquiry is to extend our knowledge of how particular types of marriages or the loss of the marital role through divorce affect personal well-being. Although studies have contrasted the adjustment of first-married and remarried respondents (White, 1979; Weingarten, 1980; Glenn, 1981) or that of the currently divorced with their first-married or remarried peers (Spanier and Furstenberg, 1982; Renne, 1971), the data set utilized here allows subsamples of three marital status groups to be compared across a wide range of psychological adjustment indicators assessing feelings of well-being, self-perceptions, and symptoms of distress. Thus, not only can we evaluate whether one marital status group is more or less happy than another; we also can consider more broadly if any refinements of the notion that "marriage is good for people" seem necessary now that half of all marriages taking place in the U.S. are likely to end in divorce and another 43% of all marriages undertaken each year are remarriages in which one or both partners have been previously married and divorced (Thornton and Freedman, 1983).

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