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The Relations between Reported Well-Being and Divorce History, Availability of a Proximate Adult, and Gender

Lawrence A. Kurdek
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 53, No. 1 (Feb., 1991), pp. 71-78
DOI: 10.2307/353134
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353134
Page Count: 8
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The Relations between Reported Well-Being and Divorce History, Availability of a Proximate Adult, and Gender
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Abstract

The relations between reported well-being (global happiness, depression, and general health) and divorce history (0, 1, or 2 or more divorces), the availability of a proximate adult (living without another adult, cohabiting, or married), and gender were examined in a sample of 6,573 primary respondents from the National Survey of Families and Households. With controls for demographic variables, only the three main effects were significant. Respondents with a history of no divorce reported greater happiness than those with a history of any divorces. They also reported less frequent depression than those with a history of one divorce, who, in turn, reported less frequent depression than those with a history of two or more divorces. Married persons reported greater happiness and less depression than persons who were cohabiting, who, in turn, reported greater well-being on these two scores than those who lived without another adult. Men reported less depression and better health than women. Significant effects accounted for at most only between 1% and 4% of the variance in well-being and at most only 1-3% additional variance in well-being beyond that provided by demographic factors. The findings indicate that, in assessing the relation between marital status and reported well-being, consideration should be given divorce history and the availability of a proximate adult.

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