August 18, 2011

Is "Single" Really a Symptom for an Early Death?

I almost choked on my Cheerios when I read this headline this morning:

Seriously?? That's what we're telling people now? I could hear my still-bruised-former-single-soul screaming, "Great, first you're telling people they'll die alone. Now you're saying they'll also die young." 
Are studies like this really necessary? What good are they doing? 
This particular study compares people who have never married to people who remained married for a very long time. It left out the widowed and divorced altogether. Apparently it says that in the worst case scenario, single men can die 17 years younger than their married counterparts. For women, it's 15 years.

So what about the flip side of this study? What about all those people who have been unhappily married for 60 years and are just praying that they die? Is this study bad news for them too?

One of the critics of the study and others like these is social psychologist Bella DePaulo, who thinks there's a general bias against single people in our society. What do you think? 

(In other news, I'll have a big announcement coming up next week for all you singles. And no, it has nothing to do with dying. Can't wait to tell you!)


amy said...

"While the new research looked at mortality risk from a very large group, the study results are about probabilities, not certainties..."

I like that felt they needed to clarify that.

Bella DePaulo said...

Thanks for posting this. I think a lot of people were choking on their Cheerios yesterday! Here's more of my critique of that awful study:

--Bella DePaulo

Ruthie said...

I am going to die and the sky is falling and the economy sucks and there are a million things wrong with the environment and I might get hit by a car or be killed in a plane crash. But until disaster strikes, I am alive.

And I get to choose the quality of my life every day. I choose to be happy and enjoy the things in my life that make it great. I work towards goals to make it better.And I cry and complain and whine about the things that I don't like on days when I feel like having a pity party. Some days I'm glad I'm single and some days I wish I weren't.

But being single is not killing me any more than second hand smoke or eating too much of this or not enough of that is killing me. What is going to kill me or at least make my life suck is not living my life to the fullest. I intend to take pleasure in my work, read interesting books, eat great food, enjoy my workouts and feel sexy in my skin and mind, have meaningful friendships and hobbies I enjoy, listen to great music, and appreciate the beauty in the place I live and the places I visit. These things will make my life full and happy whenever I die, however old I may be. I can enjoy these things whether I'm single or not.

I am alive! Woot! Woot!

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