Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Psychology

Negative Emotional States, Marital Status and Gender: A Comparative Study

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Psychology

Negative Emotional States, Marital Status and Gender: A Comparative Study

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarwat Jahan Khanam, Qasir Abbas and Fazeela Moghal

ABSTRACT

The aim of the present study was to investigate negative emotional states of depression, anxiety and stress in married and unmarried men and women. It was hypothesized that the level of depression, anxiety and stress would be high in unmarried men and women as compared to married men and women. The sample of the study comprised of 137 participants, 82 participants were male (50 married and 32 unmarried) and 55 were female (31 married and 24 unmarried) age ranging from 35 to 50 years. Their socioeconomic status was middle and their minimum educational level was graduation. Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) (Lovibond and Lovibond, 1995) was administered to measure negative emotional states of depression, anxiety and stress in married and unmarried men and women. Two-Way ANOVA was applied through statistical package for social sciences (SPSS, V-12.0) to test the significance of results.

Results reflect Marital Status as a significant determinant for depression [F (1,133) =21.69, pless than.001], anxiety [F (1,133) = 24.44, pless than.001] and stress [F (1,133) = 12.06, pless than.001]. However factor of gender found to be not significant as trivial difference was found among males and females on variable of depression, anxiety and stress. Further, interaction effect of gender and marital status found to play significant role in determining depression and anxiety but not in stress. It was found that unmarried females are the most vulnerable group for all the three negative emotional states.

INTRODUCTION

Marriage is an important tradition that provides various benefits. Considerable research has highlighted the positive consequences of marriage. Married individuals frequently report high quality of life satisfaction, happiness, emotional support, social security, high motivational level etc. On the other hand unmarried individuals tend to experience lack of emotional support, discouragement due to fear of loneliness and emotional distress and condemnation for not being married. These and many such issues may lead to mental health problems in unmarried men and women. Thus marital status is a risk factor for mental disorder in unmarried men and women and a predictor of better mental health for married men and women (Mastekaasa, 1992)

Life stressors increase gradually with the passage of time, especially in lives of single and separated / divorced people. These stressors lead towards negative emotional states which more often than not eventually results in mental illnesses (Gove and Shin, 1989). Depression and anxiety are the most common negative emotional states. If remain unnoticed they may turn into clinical disorders. Depressive and anxiety disorders are considered to be severe psychopathologies in human beings usually caused by life time stressors and dissatisfaction with life. Researches indicate that unmarried individuals are prone to depression (Lee, et al., 2009; Scarinci, et al., 2002 and Patten, et al.,2006) anxiety (Sajjad and Hussain, 2005 and Joung, 1997) and stress (Coombs and Fawzy, 1982) more so than married individuals.

Several research findings also revealed that married people have high level of happiness (Cairney, Thorpe, Rietschlin and Avison, 1999; Lee, 1991; Stutzer and Bruno, 2006), self esteem (Mandara, Johnston, Murray and Varner, 2008) and subjective well-being (Lee, Seccombe and Shehan, 1991; Evans and Kelley, 2005; Dush, and Amato, 2005). The relationship between marital status and subjective well-being found to be consistent across cultures (Diener, Gohm, Suh, and Oishi, 2000). However, research findings are inconsistent regarding relationship between gender and marital status. Many of the researches indicate that men benefit more from marriage in terms of well-being while other researches propose that women are the pertinent recipients of mental health benefits from marriage (Simon, 2002). …

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