This study examines the consequences for psychological well-being of marital stability and change over the five-year period between the two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households. We develop and test the following hypotheses: (1) those who divorce or separate experience declines in psychological well-being compared to those who remain married; (2) among those unhappy with their marriage, those who divorce or separate see improvements in psychological well-being, especially if they remarry, compared to those who remain married to the same person; (3) psychological well-being declines in the first year or two following the end of the marriage and then improves to previous levels; (4) women experience greater improvements in psychological well-being from leaving an unhappy marriage than do men. We find strong and consistent support only for the first of these.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This paper was funded by the Center for Parents, Children and Work at the University of Chicago, an Alfred P. Sloan Working Families Center.
- Emotional well-being
- Marital happiness
- Marital quality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science