Australian adults who report a good relationship that meets their original expectations score higher in mental health, while adults who report loving their spouse but wish they could They have never been in a relationship and note that relationship problems score significantly lower in mental health. The survey of nearly 7,000 Australian adults was published on 14 February 2024 in the open access journal Plus one By Bernard Kwado Yeboah and his colleagues.

A number of recent studies have examined potential social determinants of mental health. In this study, Yeboah Asiamah-Asare and colleagues looked specifically at how one’s marriage or past marital experiences may interact with self-reported financial problems and mental health status.

To assess how these factors may be linked, the authors analyzed data collected from 6,846 Australian adults who responded to the latest iteration of the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. .

Respondents were mostly over 42 (61 per cent), born in Australia (78 per cent), and married (78 per cent), with a roughly gender split (51 per cent female). According to the survey, about 7 percent had poor mental health. Two percent of the variance in mental health scores could be attributed to demographic characteristics: participants 60 and older had higher mental health scores than participants younger than 25. Being female, born outside Australia, retired, and/or a student was also associated with poorer mental health scores. Three percent of the variance in mental health scores could be linked to financial difficulties, with participants who said “yes” when asked if they had trouble paying utility bills on time, packing or selling certain items. , sought financial support from friends/family, or sought help from welfare/community organizations tend to score low on mental health. Marriage and relationship perceptions accounted for ten percent of the variance in mental health scores, with participants who perceived their relationships as good and meeting their original expectations achieving higher mental health scores. In contrast, participants who reported many problems in their marriage or relationship were more likely to wish they were not married or in a relationship, and reported loving their spouse more. were less likely to report better mental health status.

The authors note that the finding that love is not sufficient to increase mental health scores among people experiencing relationship difficulties was surprising and unexpected, and further research is needed to investigate potential confounding factors. Give advice. They also highlight the importance of marriage and relationships in understanding mental health more holistically.

The authors added: “More policy attention is needed to the social determinants of poor mental health, particularly perceptions of marriage or relationships, which have received less policy and research attention in Australia.”