People who have been married for many years live longer than those who are single or divorced, according to a Finnish-British study.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, found that men in particular enjoy an increased lifespan if they are in a long-lasting union.
Census data from 1971, 1981 and 1991, supplied by 57,000 Brits and 424,000 Finns above the age of 50, were measured against mortality rates between 1991 and 2004.
The results showed that men aged between 50 and 74 who were married for the duration of the study period were the least likely to die. Married women were also found to be more likely to live longer, although the length of the union was not such an important factor.
The positive effects of matrimony decreased for men after they reached the age of 75, but across both sexes, those who had been divorced several times or never wed at all had the greatest mortality rate.
The researchers speculated that people in lasting marriages might live longer due to social support, financial stability and greater incentive to live a healthy lifestyle. However, they also pointed out that people who choose to tie the knot may make more sensible lifestyle choices in the first place.