PHILADELPHIA (CBS)—A new study suggests that married people are healthier than those who are single.
The study was conducted at Carnegie Mellon University and published in Psychoneuroendocrinology.
To conduct the study, researchers collected saliva samples from 572 healthy adults aged 21-55 over three non-consecutive days. Multiple samples were taken during each 24-hour period and tested for cortisol.
Researchers found that married individuals had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who never married or were previously married.
The findings support the belief that single people, including those who are divorced or windowed, face more psychological stress than married individuals.
“It’s is exciting to discover a physiological pathway that may explain how relationships influence health and disease,” said Brian Chin, a Ph.D. student in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Department of Psychology.
Researchers also compared each person’s daily cortisol rhythm. Those who were married showed a faster decline, a pattern that has been associated with less heart disease, and longer survival among cancer patients.
“These data provide important insight into the way in which our intimate social relationships can get under the skin to influence our health,” said laboratory director and co-author Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty University Professor of Psychology.