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Marital Status, General-life Satisfaction and the Welfare State

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
For more content, see Comparative Sociology.

Numerous studies, using U.S. samples, have shown a positive correlation between being married and various measures of general well-being. However, data from Sweden suggests that this relationship may not hold in all modernized societies. Using cross-national data, this study examines the relationship between marital status and general well-being in eight countries in the 1970s. The results indicate that being married was an important predictor of general well-being in seven of the eight countries, the lone exception being Finland. These findings are interpreted in light of the idea that social welfare systems, to the extent that they constitute strong institutional supports for individuals outside of marriage, may make marriage less important for general-life satisfaction.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Clemson University, Clemson; 2: Department of Sociology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


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