Marital happiness and marital stability: Consequences for psychological well-being

Linda J. Waite, Ye Luo, Alisa C. Lewin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding 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.


  • Depression
  • Divorce
  • Emotional well-being
  • Marital happiness
  • Marital quality
  • Marriage
  • NSFH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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