A new study by Marcelo Urquia a scientist at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, found that being married matters to the health of mothers and possibly to the health of their children.
Marcelo Urquia studied 6,375 new mothers and found that women living in common-law arrangements were about twice as likely as married women to experience either violence from their partner, substance abuse or postpartum depression.
Single, never married women were more than three times as likely to experience at least one of the three negative outcomes. At least one of postpartum depression, substance abuse and partner abuse was reported by %10.6 of married women. %20 of co-habiting but unmarried women fell into one of the three negative psychosocial conditions.
For single, never married women, %35 report experiencing one or more of the three problems. "When a woman goes for her first prenatal visit it is probably important to know whether this woman is classified as married or co-habiting or single," he said.
"If those questions aren't asked there is probably a missed opportunity to intervene and provide support and counselling." There is a self-selecting effect when it comes to marriage versus co-habiting or single motherhood, said Urquia.
Women with higher incomes, better educations and greater opportunities are more likely to be married than living common law and the differences in class and status usually translate into better health outcomes.