Research spots wedded bliss’ slim lead on cohabiting contentment

February 14, 2011

Never mind the roses: no Valentine’s Day would be complete without academic insights into the nature of love in modern Britain.

Among the research released this 14 February is a study that suggests that, despite rising divorce rates, the majority of UK couples are happy in their relationship.

However, the findings indicate that slightly more married couples are happy than those who are just cohabiting, once other factors are taken into account.

A team led by John Ermisch, professor of economics at the University of Essex, asked individuals in relationships to assess their happiness on a seven-point scale ranging from “extremely unhappy” to “perfect”.

Its early findings indicate that 90 per cent of the married women and 93 per cent of the married men who took part in the survey are happy with their situation. This compares with 88 per cent of cohabiting women and 92 per cent of cohabiting men.

The researchers found that factors affecting happiness levels include marital status, age and the duration of the relationship.

The most content were found to be individuals who have attended university, who do not have children, and who have been in their relationship for less than five years.

The research was carried out as part of the Understanding Society project at Essex’s Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Professor Ermisch said the findings would “open up many new avenues of research in studying both marriage and family life across the UK’s population”.

john.elmes@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy