Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Partnership 'boosts well-being'

Recent changes to the intestacy laws, which determine who can inherit an estate if someone dies without a will, make it easier to claim more of the property of a spouse or civil partner
Recent changes to the intestacy laws, which determine who can inherit an estate if someone dies without a will, make it easier to claim more of the property of a spouse or civil partner

People who are married or in a civil partnership have a higher sense of well-being than cohabiting couples or those who are single or widowed, according to new research.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) also said that living alone has a negative impact on happiness, whether someone is in a relationship or not.

Participants were asked to rate four areas - satisfaction with life, feeling that their life is worthwhile, how happy they felt yesterday and how anxious they felt yesterday - on a scale of one to 10.

The analysis of the annual population survey data - carried out as part of the measuring national well-being programme - found that those living with at least one other person recorded higher scores for feelings that their lives are worthwhile and they were satisfied with their life.

Single people rated their happiness on average 0.4 of a point lower than those who are either married or in a civil partnership. The scores were even lower for those who are widowed, who rated their happiness 0.6 of a point lower.

The factor most likely to have an impact on well-being was how healthy people consider themselves to be, with employment status and relationship status following behind, said the ONS.

Those who described themselves as being in very bad health put their life satisfaction rating some 2.4 points lower than those in good health, with their happiness scores 2.6 points behind those who are well.

Unemployed people have significantly lower levels of satisfaction with their life, happiness, and feeling that their life is worthwhile, than those in employment, the ONS found. They are also more likely to be anxious. People who are in work but looking for another job also recorded lower well-being scores than those happy with their position, according to the analysis.

An ONS spokesman said: "Gaining an understanding of what influences personal well-being is an important aspect of national well-being, but is only part of a broader picture that draws on a range of economic, social and environmental statistics to show how the country is doing."

Approximately 160,000 people from across Great Britain were surveyed from between April 2011 and March 2012 for the study.

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