How Many Lives Do Single People Have? Bogus Mortality Claims, Over the Years
I admit it, my last post was a rant. Oh, there was science and critical thinking behind my words, but the emotion was pure rant. I was feeling frustrated. (Still am, but I’ll write more calmly this time.) You see, for as long as I have been studying the science of single life, I have been debunking the same old claim that getting married means that you will get to live longer.
In this post, I’ll recap the history of my attempts to debunk this misleading claim. I’ve included links, so if you want to read one or more of these critiques in their entirety, they will be easy to access. I especially like #5, because it suggests the possibility that divorce is not what it used to be, in terms of its implications for longevity.
Singled Out is where I first described, in detail, what is wrong with the claims about getting married and getting to live longer. I illustrated my points with available research. I have critiqued studies that appeared after that book was published in various blog posts, such as the ones listed below.
Critique of an article in the Washington Post titled, “Want to live longer? Try marriage.”
Once again from the Washington Post, a set of matrimaniacal and false claims that I am critiquing; this particular story is noteworthy for its especially icky condescension.
Critique of MSNBC article titled, “Single people may die younger”
My review of a study that found that (1) those people (all over age 35) who had always been single at the start of the study lived just as long as the people who started the study married and (2) “the mere experience of a marital breakup produced no elevation in mortality risk.”
I reviewed the study myself, rather than reviewing the study and critiquing media reports, because there were no media reports about this study, that I know of. Where’s the fun in reporting that single people live just as long as married people?
The Longevity Project, the longest running study of longevity, busts the myth about getting married and living longer.
The bottom line in this blog post that I wrote for Psych Central previously: “Marriage is not a ‘get-out-of-death free’ card. And living single is not a death sentence.”
This is my previous blog post here at Psych Central, which turned into a rant. After years of debunking the mortality myth over and over again, I’m getting exasperated.
These eight examples are not the only places where I have critiqued the claim that single people are doomed to an early grave, but they should offer a decent sense of my arguments. I taught research methods to graduate students for more than two decades, but you don’t need to be a graduate student to recognize what is bogus about many of the claims swimming around in the media.
Single senior photo available from Shutterstock
DePaulo, B. (2013). How Many Lives Do Single People Have? Bogus Mortality Claims, Over the Years. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2013/01/how-many-lives-do-single-people-have-bogus-mortality-claims-over-the-years/