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Linda GeistWriterUniversity of Missouri ExtensionPhone: 573-406-4933Email: GeistLi@missouri.edu
Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013
David G Schramm, 573-884-1995
COLUMBIA, Mo.–How long will you live? No one knows, but research suggests that happiness at home for the 50-plus set is the biggest predictor of longevity.
Married and widowed females live longer and have happier lives than their single counterparts, says David Schramm, University of Missouri Extension state specialist in human development and family studies.
Healthy relationships have many side benefits, including lower mortality, better physical and mental health, greater financial well-being and less chance of being a perpetrator or victim of crimes, including domestic violence, he said.
Schramm cites a recently published study by Christine Proulx, an assistant professor in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences (HES), showing that healthy relationships are more important than diet, smoking, exercise, drugs and even genetics in predicting longevity. The study, “The Longitudinal Associations between Marital Happiness, Problems and Self-Rated Health,” was co-authored by Linley Snyder-Rivas, an HES alumna.
Schramm says that “relationship fitness” is just as important as exercise to physical well-being and recommends that partners “work out” on their marriage strenuously at least three times per week.
A healthy relationship with a spouse or partner “spills over” into other relationships, including parent/child, adult child/aging parent, and relationships in the community and workplace.
Missouri’s divorce rate concerns Schramm. At 3.8 percent, it is slightly higher than the nation’s average of 3.6 percent, and has been higher than Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas for 15 years. Missourians also are marrying 7 percent less than the national average. Almost half of all Missouri marriages recorded in 2006 were remarriages for one or both of the spouses.
He offers the following tips for people in relationships:
For more information and resources from MU Extension about relationships and family life, go to www.MissouriFamilies.org.
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