Archives for Media - Page 2

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Loneliness: Change Your Story about Them, About You. Guest Post by Tricia Parker

[Bella's intro: Marina Keegan's collection of brilliant essays and stories is called "The Opposite of Loneliness." But what is the opposite of loneliness? I had some unconventional ideas about that, and wanted to know what the members of the Community of Single People thought. Tricia Parker responded with such compelling ideas that I asked her if she would develop them into a guest post for this blog. Thank-you, Tricia, for saying yes! I've set in italics the parts I love the most. In a subsequent post, I'll offer my answer to the question about the opposite of loneliness.]

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Are Ambivalent Marriages Good for Your Health?

Five years ago, when New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope wrote about marriage and health, she admitted something important: “The mere fact of being married, it seems, isn’t enough to protect your health.” She then went on to ask whether a good marriage is good for your health. As I explained in my previous post, no one has ever answered that question adequately, because no study has ever included the appropriate comparison group.

Now Parker-Pope wants to know about the health implications of ambivalent marriages, in which partners interact with each other in plenty of negative as well as positive ways. Rather than starting with the same significant acknowledgment that the mere fact of being married does not protect your health, she backslides to this exaggerated and misleading claim that there is a "marriage benefit": "the well-established notion that married people are, overall, far healthier and live longer than the unmarried." Well established? Well, yes, among the methodologically unsophisticated, the marriage apologists, and the cheerleaders for conventional wisdom.

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Good Marriages: Are They Good for Your Health?

Some people, including writers for the prestigious New York Times as well as some academics who should know better, insist that getting married is good for your health. They think the research is clear. It isn't. In fact, as I've explained in Marriage vs. Single Life: How Science and the Media Got It So Wrong (as well as in the shorter version, The Science of Marriage: What We Know That Just Isn't So), no study has ever definitively shown that getting married makes people healthier or happier or causes them to live longer.

When researchers look for evidence that getting married makes people healthier and don't find it, they don't stop there. They zero in on particular kinds of marriages. For example, they might ask if good marriages are good for your health. That's what New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope asked a few years ago. I critiqued her article at the time, and I'm sharing that here (with some updates).

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Why Were So Many People So Drawn to a Story of a Man Who Died Alone?

The New York Times published a very long story about a man who died totally alone in his New York apartment, undiscovered until the smell of his rotting body motivated a neighbor to call 911. Readers could not get enough of it. They flocked to it in droves, commented on it, tweeted it, and shared it.

I described the story, and what bothered me about it, elsewhere. Here I want to address a different set of questions. Why did the Times devote so much space to this particular story, and why were readers so drawn to it? Why now?

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Mental Health Issues? Memoirs and Movies of Others Who Have Been There and Back

On World Mental Health Day, I want to tip my hat to those who have written so movingly about their own experiences with mental health challenges that go far beyond the occasional bout of the blues. In sharing their troubles and traumas and their way back, they offer dignity to all those who have been trying to deal with more than anyone ever should have to face, and insight to everyone else who otherwise would have even less of an idea of what it means to walk in their shoes.

Leading up to this day, I've been requesting and searching for recommendations of books by people who write candidly, wisely, and engagingly about their own experiences. The best list I've found is The 20 Greatest Memoirs of Mental Illness. I'd love to credit the author but it is an unsigned blog post. You can follow the link to see all 20 recommendations. Below, I'm highlighting four of them. I've listed Jamison's first, because of her dual role both as someone who has experienced mental illness and as a mental health professional. You may recognize some of the titles from their movie versions.

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Home Alone: What the Gilmore Girls Got Right

I never watched the Gilmore Girls when new episodes were airing. Only in the past year or so have I been watching some of the episodes on Netflix. So far, there has been a lot to like about the show for someone like me who is not interested in programs that place trite matrimaniacal plots at their core. Sure, there is some coupling and crushes and near-miss weddings, but that's not the heart or soul of the Gilmore Girls.

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How to Make Life Fair for Everyone, Not Just Those Following the Straight and Narrow

In his article "Mapping the Family Possible" in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hugh Ryan had this to say about my new book, How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century:
Her book is an exuberant exploration of what is possible, divided into chapters based around different kinds of non–nuclear-family lifespaces: intergenerational families, friend-based groups, intentional communities, married couples who live apart, etc.

DePaulo comes from a social science and journalism background, and her book is like a series of short profiles on lifespace pioneers, studded with fascinating facts and statistics like “[a] twenty-year-old in 2000 was more likely to have a living grandmother than a twenty-year-old in 1900 was to have a living mother.”... Her engaging, positive tone makes you root for her subjects… her book is infused with a warmth that colors each lifespace she examines like an Instagram filter, bringing out its best look.

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Stop Saying that Being Single Is Better Than Being in a Bad Relationship

I hear this all the time: "Being single is better than being in a bad relationship" (or a bad marriage). There are other versions, too, such as, "It is better to be single than to wish you were." Sometimes I read those platitudes in the media and sometimes people say them to me, knowing that I am one who lives my single life fully, joyfully, and unapologetically.

I don't like those sentiments and I wish people would stop expressing them.

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Can You Believe Findings from Psychology Studies? New York Times Casts Doubt

The New York Times caused a stir with its article, "Many psychology findings not as strong as claimed, study says." It quickly climbed to the top of the "most emailed" list. Should you be concerned? Can you really believe the results of all the studies you read about here at Psych Central and in so many other places?

I wrote about this issue previously, when similar questions were being raised at the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Columbia Journalism Review. I'm sharing that article here. (See below.) As you will see, I'm less concerned with researchers who try to do the same study and come up with different results (that can happen for reasons that are not at all nefarious or troubling) and much more concerned with the reporting and interpretation of research findings in wildly inaccurate ways.

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